Monday, February 15, 2010

From the mouths of ladies, poets and dogs

The Lady is Baroness James of Holland Park, also known as P.D. James; the dog is J.F. Englert's Randolph, narrator and reflective co-protagonist of three novels; the poet is W.H. Auden, and I've come across interesting words from each recently on the appeal of mysteries.

Englert, via Randolph, gives us this in A Dog About Town:
"W.H. Auden ... He too had faced a New Year filled with doubt and dark musings—the New Year 1940 when a great war loomed over the world. ... His words now flowed through my mind, a sad and graceful music:

The situation of our time
Surrounds us like a baffling crime.
There lies the body half-undressed

We all had reason to detest.
And all are suspects and involved
Until the mystery is solved.

And under lock and key the cause
That makes a nonsense of our laws ... "
James' Talking About Detective Fiction has any number of observations that will compel further reading, and that's based just on a short foreword and the first chapter. To wit:
"Because of its resilience and popularity, detective fiction has attracted what some may feel is more than its fair share of critical attention, and I have no with to add to, and less to emulate, the many distinguished studies of the last two centuries."
and
"So what exactly are we talking about when we use the words `detective story,' how does it differ from both the mainstream novel and crime fiction, and how did it all begin?"
© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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56 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

At his best, Auden is sublime. I hadn't read the one from which you quote, but I think I'll have to now.

Lessee, genre questions. To my mind, the detective story is a very specific subset of crime fiction, a story wherein the primary interest (almost always) comes from unravelling the identity of the criminal. Don't ask me what mainstream fiction is. I guess it's whatever Oprah declares it to be.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wanted to check my book of Auden's collected poetry to verify Englert's citation, but I couldn't find it, so I hope he cited accurately.

I expect James' distinction will be one we all know but rarely lay out as clearly as she does. It's interesting, too, that a writer of detective stories recognizes other kinds of crime fiction. Her definition of detective stories will also clarify by omission what we mean when we talk about crime stories that are not necessarily detective fiction, I think. That's why I expect her book might be worthwhile even for readers of non-detective crime fiction.

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Since questions are being asked, let me ask this one. Can a detective story be noir?

Peter, I know you associate noir with doom laden protagonists, but whether a protagonist is doomed is really a function of whether the writer chooses to concentrate on the detectives who investigate crime or the criminals who commit it. The former frequently come back for another book while the latter, especially if they're murderers, don't have much sequel potential (unless you're Patricia Highsmith).

One exception to this is the movie D.O.A (1950) where an innocent victim investigates, solves and avenges his own murder before dropping dead from the slow acting poison he's been given. By your definition, Peter, that's a very noir detective story, but I can't think of many others.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor stories are arguably noir, though just nominally detective stories.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But that's a good question. One could argue that noir embodies failure and detective stories embody at least progress toward a goal. I wonder whether the two are easily reconciled absent a gimmick, albeit ingenious, like the one in D.O.A.

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

I've read Priest, Peter. I thought Jack Taylor's desire for a drink was one of the strongest characters in the book and obviously a doom-laden one. Bruen is very funny but the tone is more woe-is-me than doom laden. Bruen would be a lot better if he'd bring out one book in three years rather than three books in one year.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Some readers would call Priest noir. And some of the Jack Taylor novels involve a bit of detection, The Killing of the Tinkers, for instance. But your question admits the possibility that noir could be defined by an unremittingly bleak world view even if the protagonist is not necessarily on a downward spiral. In that view, noir is hell rather than the process of getting there.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Randolph said...

Dear Peter:
That you chose to use this passage today is quite a coincidence. I had just gone on line to check a portion of this passage in another Randolph-related project and did not have a copy of A Dog About Town handy nor my Collected Poems of Auden with which I normally travel). Typing the first two lines into Google, I arrived at your site and this discussion.

In terms of accuracy, I can say with confidence that the passage in the book is accurate as printed since Randolph was determined to recite it on New Year's Eve and I had to pay for the rights to every line. Also, to help anyone who might want to track it down, it is taken from Auden's New Year Letter (January 1, 1940).

Sincerely,
J.F. by way of Randolph

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

I believe it was Sartre who said hell was other people. I suspect anyone who knew Sartre personally would be inclined to agree with him.

What bugs me about the noir definition is that it is so often applied retrospectively. If you could dig up David Goodis or Jim Thompson and tell them they were great noir writers they wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about.

I think you pointed out elsewhere that Macbeth has most of the elements of noir. But would anybody be so presumtuous as to call Shakespeare a noir writer?

February 15, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I imagine Auden and Isherwood's hard New York year would have been harder still if they had remained in England with their fellow countrymen to face the Nazi threat instead of scampering across the Atlantic. Isherwood's knowledge of Berlin I'm sure would have been helpful to the SOE and Auden's brilliant analytical mind could have been put to use at Bletchley. But no, they chose instead to heroically endure the privations of New York and California.

The English do not forget. No knighthood, no OM, no Poet Laureate for Auden.

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Adrian makes me feel sorry for those poor bastards. Imagine having to endure the privations of California without a knighthood. Quel horreur!

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, J.F. You may inspire an excavation and clean-up mission in my personal library so I can find my Auden.

Those excerpts reminded me of Auden's ability to create great emotional impact out of exceedingly simple, almost sing-song lines.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, poor Jean-Paul has a tough time of it these days. An interesting piece on Camus in the Economist a few weeks ago compared Camus' reputation and political ethics to Sartre's very much to Camus' advantage.

Part of the problem with noir is indeed that the term is applied retrospectively. Wiki's article on film noir offers this: "Cinema historians and critics defined the noir canon in retrospect; before the notion was widely adopted in the 1970s, many of the classic film noirs were referred to as melodramas." So "Macbeth" is a melodrama, or even chick lit.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, Isherwood could at least have suggested clubs where the SOE men could let their hair down at night.

The there's Sir Alfred Hitchcock, KBE, who moved to America in 1939 but whose second American movie, Foreign Correspondent, was a heartfelt plea for the United States to join the war.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And then there's P.G. Wodehouse, who had, as I've heard Englishmen say, a complicated war.

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, let's try and remember that the England of 1939 that Auden and Isherwood failed to bodily defend was the same one that was lording it over India and Kenya and Palastine and other places in the name of Empire. Why should someone defend their country in the name of freedom when that same country was denying other countries their freedom? If Auden and Isherwood had done their 'duty' would England still feel free to rule those places? Would they still feel free to import opium into China, for instance, as they once did.

I realise the phrase 'to bodily defend' splits an infinitive. I hope this doesn't contravene any essential DBB gramatical rules.

My v-word is untershe. I am tempted to give a definition for this but in a rare display of definatorial restraint I shall keep mum.

February 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I wouldn't be too down on Wodehouse. I think he simply suffered from a certain laziness and stupidity, something I'd be prepared to forgive him for, being subject to an excess of those qualities myself.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I was trying to convey the charming understatement of "complicated war." I'm not down on Wodehouse, and he needs no speeches on his behalf from me. I know little about his wartime activities, but I have read that the Germans tricked him into making his broadcasts. I also don't know the substance of the broadcasts and, with defenders like George Orwell and Alexander Cockburn(!), anything I could add would be superfluous even I knew what I was talking about. John Lawton pays explicit tribute to Wodehouse in his own fiction. Ruth Dudley Edwards does the same.

Reading Wodehouse is one of the great pleasures of my life. And he, too, was a KBE.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Infinitives may be split freely here. I'll refrain from juding Auden's and Isherwood's activities during the war since I don't know the cricumstances of their having decamped for the U.S. I have read that Isherwood did alternative service with Quakers during the war.

February 15, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I don't think noir is contradictory to detection. One can know that it all ends in the heat death of the universe and still know that the baddies in our own particular lifetime must be hunted down and stopped.

I do think that Izzo is a good paradigm in this regard. He knows that the social forces of Marseilles are too big for him or any other individual, yet he is dogged in ameliorating the circumstances of those he can actually try to do something about.

It's hard to hold on to both perspectives at once, but some do.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Existential!

Somone suggested that there is always just a bit of hope bried within noir. (I forget who said this. Probably someone I heard at a convention.)

Izzo is a good example. It's easy to forget that his protagonist, Fabio Montale, is a cop.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

It seems to be easy for him to forget it as well.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And eventually he stops being a cop.

The rebellious officer is a frequent feature of crime writing about police, but Izzo never feels stale. That Montale is a pretty vital protagonist.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Solo

It was an exquisite punishment for Auden. Isherwood could not have cared less.

I dont think you want to try and create moral equivalence between the British Empire and Nazi Germany. If you cant see that the Nazis were a unique menace for Western Civilization then I'm afraid you are probably beyond psychiatric help.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Post Script: Tag, you're it, Peter. You have Patti Abbott to (indirectly) blame.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Adrian

I don't see anything in my comment that either implied or expressed moral equivalence between the British Empire and Nazi Germany, but I'll make an appointment with my shrink just in case.

But lets not pretend that the opponents of Nazism were white knights in shining armour. Even after the war the British were prepared wade through the blood of tens of thousands of Kenyans and others to try and hold on to their murderously acquired colonies. Likewise the French and other colonial powers.

Pointing out these evils does not equate them with other evils. But it does suggest there is a good deal of ambiguity about the moral character of the nations involved. I don't think I'd have had any difficulty in choosing which side to support in WWII but I'd be slow to look down my nose at those like Isherwood and Auden who chose to opt out altogether.

The English don't forget, you say? They don't remember either. If any one Englishman could be said to have contributed more to the war effort than any other, it would be Alan Turing with his work on cryptography at Bletchley Park. Fat lot of thanks he got from his fellow countrymen. Of course the Nazis would have stuck him in a gas chamber so I suppose he should be grateful for small mercies.

Oops, time for my valium.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"So what exactly are we talking about when we use the words 'detective story,' how does it differ from both the mainstream novel and crime fiction, and how did it all begin?"

I’m not sure when it all began. The “Me Decade” of the 1980s? But at some point the commonly encountered usage of the term “crime fiction” seems to have coincided with reviewers’ desire to have their self-esteem stroked by reviewing not some base sub-literature but “real” literature; by publishers wanting to market “mysteries” as “real” literature, perhaps pandering a bit to us readers whose own self-esteem was bruised by our being scoffed at by non-readers of “mystery” and “detective” fiction; and by writers wanting their “mysteries “to be taken seriously as literature (this goes back at least as far as Hammett). I think we’re all in it together.

Does a crime fiction novel head towards becoming a “mainstream novel” when it appears on elite private schools’ summer reading lists and/or is required reading for a college or university class? (When the latter does not have the words mystery, detective, crime, etc. in the class title?)

But why does an element of mystery-that-needs-to-be solved still automatically prevent a work of crime fiction from being shelved in the “fiction/literature” sections of bookstores and public libraries? I think their sheer popularity has something to do with this but it can’t be the only answer.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't known about Alan Turing Thanks. And I wouldn't rush out for a prescription for psychoactive drugs yet, either.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Elizabeth, my distinction is a bit simpler than that, and as I read all sorts of mysteries and crime novels unabashedly, it's not to make myself feel better. I just use detective fiction to mean that subgenre that has some form of detective in it. I don't mean that there has to be a professional detective in it, just someone who is trying to figure out who or what perpetrated the crime. But there are a lot of crime novels that don't have such a character. Adrian McKinty's Dead Trilogy springs to mind, actually, although he, or others who've read it, may disagree with this distinction. I guess I'd characterize that more as more of a quest, which just happens to be in a crime-filled world.

Elmore Leonard is another who I think of as a crime writer more than a detective story writer. Although there are cops in many of them, the criminals or the would-be criminals, are the more central characters. Donald Westlake might fit in this mold too. At least sometimes.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I'm more interested in P.D. James' classification of different types of crime fiction than I am in any definition of "mainstream" literature. (And I'll count detective stories as a genre of crime fiction.)

"Crime fiction" does have a higher tone than "detective stories" or "mysteries," doesn't it? My sense is that English critics and readers took detective stories seriously long before Americans did without, however, feeling compelled to invent fancy terms for it or elevate it to "mainstream" status. Your tentative suggestion of the "Me Decade" is tantalizing. It would be nice if crime fiction had critics in the vein of Pauline Kael or Lester Bangs, who wrote intelligently about popular art forms without the compulsion to elevate.

I've just reread "The Simple Art of Murder" for Chandler's thoughts on the English detective story and its American imitators. It's too bad that people, including me, remember that piece only for its most famous lines.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

A quick definition snagged from the Web: "Crime fiction is a genre of fiction that deals with crimes, their detection, criminals, and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred. It has several sub-genres, including detective fiction (including the whodunnit), legal thriller, courtroom drama, and hard-boiled fiction."

Well, that sorta tells me what "crime fiction" is but what exactly _is_ "mainstream" fiction?

And, yes, Chandler's the man.

For readers who haven't read his essay, or want to re-visit it, the 1950 version may be found at:

http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/amlitprivate/scans/chandlerart.html

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, common sense sometimes make sense. A detective story has a detective in it. (I'll put in a plug here for T.J. Binyon's excellent Murder Will Out: The Detective in Fiction, which offers insightful classification along with a astonishingly comprehensive and even prescient history of the genre, especially for such a short book.

The Dead Trilogy is a good example. It's at least as much an adventure story as a crime story, probably more. Same with our man Declan Burke's The Big O, for example. No detection there. What would I call, say, Roger Smith's Wake Up Dead? One of its central characters is a cop, but the book is more a thriller. The list of crime novels without detectives or even noir novels without crime is too long to be of any use.

Interesting you should mention Westlake. The best writers invent of perfect forms that other than turn into categories. Did the comic caper novel exist before Westlake created Dortmunder? Did an amoral criminal with a job to do exist before Parker? Maybe, but so sharply defined as in the stunning opening pages of The Hunter, some the most electrifying writing in all of ... crime fiction? Caper fiction? Hard-boiled fiction?

February 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Yes, I should have said that detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction, not that it's separate.

As to mainstream fiction--that's simple. It's what I stock out on our front table every day and have to keep running up and refreshing. To my mind, the label doesn't say much beyond that the book has somehow caught the public eye and is doing gangbusters.

I suppose its detractors would say that it tends not to err on the side of complexity, but I don't know that this is always true. I do usually hear the word most when it is being compared to "literary" fiction, which is apparently more obsessed with language and verbal effect than the mainstream effort, though again, I often wonder if this is just.

I guess it sometimes is used to make a distinction with genre fiction as well, but it's a murky line.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I need to read more Westlake.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, that's a good, commonsense definition. I'll look forward to see how P.D. James sets crime fiction apart from detective fiction. Mainstream fiction is any fiction that is not genre fiction, and genre fiction is any fiction is not mainstream fiction, though these boundaries are fluid and frequently transgressed.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I wonder if these terms have any purpose other than the practical one of letting librarians and booksellers where to put the books, and the related, though slightly reputable one of marketing.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

seana/Peter, Maybe the question should also be broached by readers who don't like to read crime/mystery/detective fiction, etc. Although it doesn't seem likely they will be dropping by this blog. We're all preaching to the choir here. We read all the kinds of fiction discussed here and we like a lot of it. I didn't mean we read it to make ourselves feel better about ourselves but that sometimes it gets tiresome telling the uninitiated why we enjoy it. Sorta the way Chandler got tired of people saying things like: You're such a good writer, why don't you write a serious novel?

For more on Chandler's thoughts on what his correspondent James Sandoe calls "the redlight segregation of detective stories from 'novels' by the reviews" copy-and-paste this (very long Google Books) URL into your browser:

http://books.google.com/books?id=FRPk5m7Oq9YC&pg=RA1-PA48&lpg=RA1-PA48&dq=%22most+detective+stories+are+very+badly+written%22&source=bl&ots=9JjBq23C--&sig=cfvKsP75rfYrWAK-m-UAKMPlNcM&hl=en&ei=Dht7S4OcH4m2sgOM9Ly8Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22most%20detective%20stories%20are%20very%20badly%20written%22&f=false

Beginning at "...most detective stories are very badly written."

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I forgot to mention a recent discussion in which Declan Burke wrote: "The mediocre 'genre' writer's mantra — `plot, character, pace' — ignores what is for me the most important aspect of a good novel, which is a facility for language."

I think the man's right

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Reading more Westlake is not a bad project. The "Violent World of Parker" Web site is a fine guide to that part of Westlake's oeuvre.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisbaeth, you're right about the proper audience for discussions such as these. We're part fo the choir. I have found ti useful on occasion to reflect that a novel I have read may not, in fact, be a crime novel at all but more an adventure story or a thriller. I take pleasure in this. But all the categorizing is good for generating blog posts, though.

Here is that very long URL in handy, clickable form.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter,

I also reread The Simple Art of Murder recently. This time I found it a little bit self-serving. He does lavish praise on Hammett but he also says 'Hammett is said to have lacked heart.' Of course, he doesn't tell us who said this.

He also goes on to say, 'But all this (and Hammett too) is for me not quite enough.' Shortly afterwards comes the famous passage beginning, 'But down these mean streets a man must go...'

The gist of this, although never explicitly stated, is that Philip Marlowe is the apotheosis of crime fiction detectives, not Sam Spade. In other words, a romantic, sentimentalized Sir Lancelot is to be preferred over a tough nut cookie like Sam Spade.

I love Chandler's books and reread them frequently. But I'd regard them as a step backwards from the best of Hammett's work, not a step forward.

I reread The Maltese Falcon recently. It's eighty years old this year but to me much of it was as fresh as if it was written yesterday. Perhaps Hammett does lack heart. Maybe I like him because I lack heart myself, but I can honestly say I haven't read any crime fiction that betters The Maltese Falcon.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Solo

The English do in fact remember.

Well the Scottish do anyway.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Thanks for inserting the "handy, clickable form" of the Chandler letter. It's not possible for me to do so.

Chandler makes a number of pithy comments pertinent to this thread. I wish I could copy-and-paste them but Google Books does not permit this. They are available in Frank MacShane’s “Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler,” Columbia Univ Press, 1981, ISBN 0-231-05080-1 A reader might start with the “Chandler, Raymond: on writing” heading in the fine index, then browse down to the subheading “on detective story”

good v-word here: ratted

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, for me the quick rereading of "A Simple Art of Murder" reminded me that the essay is better than its most-quoted lines. The "down these mean streets" passage had not aged well, with its overeheated prose and stilted diction ("who is not himself mean" rather than "who is not mean himself.") I found Chandler's analysis of Dorothy L. Sayers far more interesting.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

solo, per your comment “I can honestly say I haven't read any crime fiction that betters The Maltese Falcon.”

I have. “Red Harvest” and “The Glass Key.”

But here’s Chandler in a 1945 letter on TMF. “Frankly, I can conceive of better writing than the 'Falcon,' and a more tender and warm attitude to life, and a more flowery ending; but by God, if you can show me twenty books written approximately 20 years back that have as much guts and life now, I’ll eat them between slices of Edmund Wilson’s head…it doesn’t matter a damn what a novel is about…the only fiction of any moment in any age is that which does magic with words, and that the subject matter is merely the springboard for the writer’s imagination…”

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, as I admitted to Solo, to my embarrassment, I didn't know much about Turing. His treatment by his country was, indeed, shocking. Gordon Brown's statement edged clsoer to apparent sincerity than most such do.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for inserting the "handy, clickable form" of the Chandler letter. It's not possible for me to do so.

If you're interested, here's how to create a handy, clickable link:

(a href="http://www.YOURURL.COM/")The text you want to highlight(/a) for your reader to click.

Intead of parentheses, use the sideways carets, the ones you get on the shift/comma and shift/period keys.

I mentioned that some of the lesser-known passages in "The Simple Art of Murder" read better than the more famous counterparts. I sometimes think that he's better known for his schticks and bits and good lines than for his entire novels.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But here’s Chandler in a 1945 letter on TMF. “ ... it doesn’t matter a damn what a novel is about…the only fiction of any moment in any age is that which does magic with words, and that the subject matter is merely the springboard for the writer’s imagination…”

That's almost exactly what Declan Burke said. Perhaps it's no acicdent that he reveres Chandler.

February 16, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, because I'm not a blogger, the system will not permit me to establish links, place text in italics, etc. etc. It's probably some kind of protective measure against spam and other kinds of online vandalism. Other bloggers who contribute to yours and others' blogs may perform these tasks within your blog, however.

"I sometimes think that he's better known for his schticks and bits and good lines than for his entire novels." -- This is so true. He's more famous for the sound bites of his Chandlerisms than for such wonderful passages as that in Ch. 13 of "The Little Sister" -- "the best-sustained description of Los Angeles that Chandler offers in all his fiction" according to Toby Widdicome in his "A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler."

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

He's so famous that we know his work or think we do without reading his books.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Peter, that was exactly my own thought on this, but unlike you, I say this as one of the guilty party. We see the movies and think we know. I will try and correct this in the near future.

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I've read a fair amount of Chandler, but I am decidedly one of the guilty party. Elisabeth is the Chandler expert here.

(But see the post I have just put up.)

February 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Loren, though my skin's not that yellow and my nose is not that long.

February 17, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I'm not a Chandler expert -- but I'd like to be -- and so I read as much about him as I can get my hands on.

February 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not a Chandler expert -- but I'd like to be -- and so I read as much about him as I can get my hands on.

Then you're something even better: an enlightened amateur. I'm just an amateur.

February 17, 2010  
Blogger Becky said...

I'm an amateur too. I haven't read Chandler but know I would really like his work- I am a huge fan of criminal fiction/detective fiction books (to me they are one in the same)...right now I am reading "They Never Die Quietly" by D. M. Annechino. As soon as I am finished with this book, I am going to check out Chandler's work.

February 18, 2010  

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