I'd rate Nebel at about the same level as Davis, and a couple notches up from Whitfield or Gardner (the pulp magazine Gardner, of course), and a full yard up from Torrey or Sale.
I don't know if I can stand still for the comment about Nebel's characters. Kennedy and MacBride are pretty memorable people. His action was solid, but his dialogue can be flat out wonderful ("I said I was sorry, you want me to set it to music?") and he excelled at passages of marvelously lucid hardboiled description. Railroad stations, city streets and empty rooms lit by moonlight come to life on his pages.
But you're right, of course, rating the Black Mask authors is silly.
I just love Nebel's work and very much wish I could read more of the vast trove of it locked away in the crumbling pages of old, rare magazines.
--- On Mon, 11/3/08, jacquesdebierue <email@example.com> wrote:
From: jacquesdebierue <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Fast One
Date: Monday, November 3, 2008, 12:02 AM
--- In rara-avis-l@ yahoogroups. com, "J.C. Hocking" <jchocking@. ..> wrote:
> For Davis it was The Adventures of Max Latin, a very enjoyable
> And for Nebel it was The Adventures of Cardigan, which was even better.
> But there's lots more superb work by both authors still lost in the
> This is especially true for Nebel, who to my mind is the most
criminally under-rated (and under-reprinted) of all the Black Mask boys.
I like Nebel, but I wouldn't say he was as good as Norbert Davis or
Raoul Whitfield, or Gardner at his best. I would place Nebel in the
same category as, for example, Roger Torrey (or Torres) and Richard
Sale: high second rank. Nebel was great at depicting action, but
characterwise, he tended to be one dimensional.
Anyway, please forgive the digression.. . who cares how Blackmaskers
are ranked? A pulp is to pick up and enjoy.
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