Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: corpses

Date: 02 Sep 2006

Jim wrote:

"The Sternwoods in THE BIG SLEEP and the Dains and Leggets in THE DAIN CURSE, after all, were just as upper class as anyone in Agatha Christie or S.S. Van Dine."

However, the hardboiled investigators were most assuredly not of that class. This gave the narrator, in both cases the first person investigator, an outsider status from which to comment on the upper class. On top of that, the classical mystery was mainly British (yes, I know Van Dine's were set in the US, but they were written to the British model, at least the one I've read) where a person's class is more set from birth (with less interaction between classes, at least during the time of the classical mystery, if not still) than the myth of class mobility would have us believe it is in the US. Because of that belief, we are often obsessed with the trappings of class and what sets them apart from each other. So it makes sense that US hardboiled would look to expose the dark underbelly of the Horatio Alger myth.


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