Re: Father Figure (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Positions still open)

From: Michael Jeter (
Date: 13 Aug 2008

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    Well, if you mean actual = biological, that may prove difficult. Does the list agree that part of the classic hard - boiled genre is that IF the detective gets the girl, itīs temporary and she dies or leaves? If the woman who loves the detective has to leave, one way or another, children donīt seem likely.

    Vachss seems to stay in this tradition.

    Parker and Crais break out of the mold by having ongoing love interests, though neither have fathered biological children.

    The detectives Iīm thinking of raise the question of whether biology defines fatherhood, which Vachss writes about all the time in the novels and non fiction: Acts and deeds, not words. In the last Crais novel I read, _Forgotten Man_, we explore Elvisī childhood, and of course, he has a relationship with Ben Chenier. Spenser has Paul Giacomin, and Easy Rawlins has adopted Jesus and Feather.

    If a detective has children, does he/she become more careful? My research concentrates on males and father figures. I confess to ignorance about female detectives.

    If having a family would make an investigator more careful, would this eplain why so few detectives have families, i.e., writers would feel their characters could not take the chances they do otherwise?

    Michael Jeter

    On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 9:02 AM, <> wrote:
    > Michael wrote:
    > "In the Fall -- actually, August 25th, I will begin study for an MA in
    > English. I have two concentrations, Composition and American Literature,
    > and within the American Lit concentration, I focus on hard
    > - boiled detectives. Right now, I plan on examining the hard - boiled
    > detective as male role model/father figure."
    > Welcome, Michael. That sounds interesting. I understand that you're
    > using father figure metaphorically, but it made me think. Are there any
    > hardboiled detectives who are actual fathers? I can think of very few:
    > Travis McGee found out he had a kid in one o his later books; Lew
    > Griffin had a son, but little to no direct contact with him; Moe Praeger
    > has a daughter; Richard Barre's PI (blanking on the name) lost a child.
    > There are probably a few others, but it's rare. Certainly can't think
    > of any "Detective & Sons" PI agency. And for all the lost children Lew
    > Archer searched for, none was his.
    > Mark

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