RARA-AVIS: Re: NY Times article on Altman's Long Goodbye

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 17 Apr 2007


Re your comment below:

> You make an interesting point. The old time gum shoe seems at a loss
> in the sterile world of the forensic crime fighter. By the same
> what an interesting premise. Imagine the anachronistic dick who
> handles crime in an older, blunt fashion, side stepping modern
> work to bring criminals to justice.

Without commenting on the subject that first generated this thread, I think you exaggerate the influence of forensic investigation on the fortunes of the hard-boiled private eye.

The first mystery series to be primarily based on an accurate description of forenisc investigation, R. Austin Freeman's novels and stories about Dr. John Thorndyke, predate both Daly's Race Williams and Hammett's Continental Op by decades. This early, and very popular, example of the "CSI" kind of story did not keep the hard-boiled private eye from generating in some twenty years later.

Moreover, in one of the first of Hammett's Op stories, "Slippry Fingers," the clue by which the case was solved hinged on a piece of forensic evidence. Evidence that the Op was able to analyze correctly when the professional forensics people did not.

Forensics and hard-boiled private eyes are not mutually exclusive concepts.


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