Warrantless surveillance? Pfui!
“`Nuts.’ Cramer stood up. … `I’m taking Goodwin. They’ll take his statement at the District Attorney’s Office, a complete report of the conversation. I’ll have a man here at two o’clock to take yours. If I took you down you’d only – 'Rivalry between fictional private detectives and police goes back at least to Edgar Allan Poe, in “The Purloined Letter,” and no one has done it better than Stout. Here, though, he does not merely show the private detective getting the better of the exasperated police officer, he flings a direct challenge at unwarranted exercise of police power.
“`I shall sign no statement. I am not obliged to. If you send a man he won’t be admitted. If you have questions, ask them.’”
A bit of research turned up Controversial Politics, Conservative Genre: Rex Stout's Archie-Wolfe Duo and Detective Fiction's Conventional Form , submitted by one Ammie Sorensen Cannon last year as a master’s thesis in English at Brigham Young University.
“Stout attempted to present radical messages via the content of his detective fiction with subtlety,” Sorensen wrote. “As a literary traditionalist, he resisted using his fiction as a platform for an often extreme political agenda. Where political messages are apparent in his work, Stout employs various techniques to mute potentially offensive messages.”
Maybe there’s more to the Wolfe-Cramer clashes than enjoyable embodiment of a detective-story tradition.
What other crime writers resort to the devious stratagem of entertainment to make a political point?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007