RARA-AVIS: Re: Existential and all that

From: davezeltserman (davezelt@rcn.com)
Date: 16 Nov 2008

  • Next message: Joy Matkowski: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Existential and all that"

    > Look at how early private eyes were often presented in the genre:
    > jolly, happy-go-lucky con artists like Cohen's Jim Hanvey and
    > Latimer's Bill Crane and whiz bang great but eccentric detectives like
    > Holmes et al. But after the success of Hammett and particularly
    > Chandler, glib geniality was pretty much gone from the P.I. sub-genre,
    > with a few notable exceptions.
    Latimer wrote his Bill Crane books after Hammett, and to me they seem heavily influenced by Hammett, both by The Thin Man and the Continental Op. And while they have that wonderful screwball comedy aspect to them, there's definitely some darkness running through them also.

    > Dark left its mark, and we're still in it.
    > The outright hostility sometimes expressed on lists like this by the
    > more-miserable-than-you crowd toward any sort of light in the genre is
    > telling. Unless clearly marked as humour (and preferably "black
    > humour"), I'm not sure many self-confessed noir-thinking readers on
    > this list would accept such lightness in their heroes.
    I'm not sure where this is coming from--I've been a member of this list for years now and I can't recall people here complaining about humor in their hardboiled/noir books. Personally, one of the reasons I love Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe's so much is because of the gentle humors that imbues it--and I know there are other Nero Wolfe fans here. Btw. Rex Stout also wrote a pitch black noir novel titled, "How Like a God"--I think it was his first novel, and it's great.


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