Re: RARA-AVIS: Cain and Hammett

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 02 Oct 2007

--- "Kerry J. Schooley" <> wrote:

 He has
> We know that is for a limited
> time, but Spade
> could not be perceived as heroic in any other world.
> He's screwed
> like the rest of us.
I got to go with Jack on this one. Describing Spade as
"screwed" -- with all due respect -- is semantic dancing. For example, he's not dead, in prison, or insane. Now that's screwed and I can't speak for Jack but I sense that's what he means. Spade is a hero as is Philip Marlowe and you can fudge it all you want but he succeeds and lives and all the bad puppies have been slapped with the newspaper. Don't get me wrong. The Maltese Falcon may be the best book of its kind and is a damn fine book of any kind.

But Spade is a hero no matter what environment he swims in. All the PIs are. This is elementary, my dear Watson. There's no getting around it. That is how they function. That they may be morally or ethically flexible only means that they aren't saints. They may not be role models but they sure are heros in the way we understand that term. Frank and Cora from "Postman" are not heros. It's this simple: One is dead and the other is off to prison.

That's screwed.


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