Re: RARA-AVIS: Inner demons

From: Dave Zeltserman (
Date: 03 Nov 2007

Due to recent discussions here I reread The Dain Curse (a book I hadn't looked at since high school), and it might just be the 3rd best PI novel I've read (Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest being the two best) for exactly that reason--having teeth. Not only is the writing pitch perfect and the plotting ingenious, but the Continental Op is exactly what I want in a PI--tough and bright. He makes all the connections a smart PI should make, and nowhere is the plot advanced because he overlooks the obvious. Unfortunately there was only one Hammett and only one Continental Op.

Btw. I think Mike R. pointed out how Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer was influenced by the cult stuff in Dain Curse. To me, Latimer was influenced by all of Hammett--the Bill Crane books heavily influenced by The Thin Man, and Solomon's Vineyard showing influences from Maltese Falcon (PI avenging murdered partner), Red Harvest (influences obvious with all the deaths that follow Craven's investigation) and Dain Curse.

One more point about the Op since this is Block month (or months)-- I'd have to think Keller from the Hitman stories was intended to pay homage to the Op.

--Dave Zeltserman

> --- Michael Robison <miker_zspider@...> wrote:
> >
> > These inner demons are at least one of the elements
> > that separates Hammett's Con Op from Chandler's
> > Marlowe.
> >
> Yes. But give us a demon with teeth and not the
> private detective who is having a struggle with
> chocolate. One of the reasons that I pretty much gave
> up on recent detective fiction is that the
> protagonists are so lame. Most of it seems written for
> people who want to escape from any form of thought.
> William
> Essays and Ramblings
> <>
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