Re: RARA-AVIS: Nameless Detective uncloaked?

Date: 15 May 2007

Ed wrote:

"Do you mean the other characters (like Kerry, his wife, Jake Runyon, and Tamara Corbins) in the series? I notice they refer to him as

No, I mean that the first four novels in the series were written in the first person and Pronzini avoided his character's first name, but his first crossover book, which was indeed Twospot, was written in alternating chapters with Collin Wilcox. As I recall (I must have gotten that book from the library, as I don't have a copy), Pronzini explains in the intro that it became necessary that Nameless have at least a first name so Frank Hastings could address him in Wilcox's police procedural chapters.

Pronzini also addresses his detective's namelessness in the intro to the short story collection, Case File (1983):

"Not too many other people figured this out [that Nameless was actually the author, and vice versa] until, in a 1978 collaboration between
'Nameless' and Collin Wilcox's Lieutenant Frank Hastings (Twospot), he was publicly and for novelistic reasons given a first name: Bill. Aha! folks said then. The damn detective has the same first name as the writer; ergo, he must have the same last name, too. Right?

"Right. But he has remained officially 'Nameless' in subsequent entries in the series and will continue to remain so in future entries. For one very good reason.

"Bill Pronzini may be an okay name for a writer, but it's a lousy name for a private eye."


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