Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Tobias Jones on Ross Macdonald in yesterday's Guardian

From: Patrick King (
Date: 06 Aug 2009

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    "Without in the last abating my admiration for Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, I should like to venture the heretical suggestion that Ross Macdonald is a better novelist than either of them." 24 Jan 1965


    Not to beat a dead horse here, Jim, but what constitutes "better" in your mind? MacDonald wrote the same book over and over. You certainly can't say that about Hammett or Chandler. If you mean that, as a novelist, MacDonald got up at the same time every day and put in a full day's work on his latest rewrite, thus making him a better "novelist," perhaps you have an argument. His stories were certainly not better than THE LITTLE SISTER or THE GLASS KEY. He never wrote a story as good as either of those. And THE LITTLE SISTER was one of Chandler's recurring themes.

    Patrick King


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