Writers Say the Darnedest Things

"They're fancy talkers about themselves, writers. If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don't listen to writers talk about writing or themselves." -- Lillian Hellman "All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, … Continue reading Writers Say the Darnedest Things

I Hear Voices

Quotations from the Work of Raymond Chandler Raymond Chandler brought one of the most singular and influential voices not just to crime fiction, but arguably to American literature itself. Chandler may have come out of the crime pulps of the thirties, but what he created was literature of the finest kind. He imbued what was … Continue reading I Hear Voices

Raymond Chandler’s Ten Commandments for the Detective Novel

It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement. It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection. It must be realistic in character, setting and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world. It must have a sound story value apart from … Continue reading Raymond Chandler’s Ten Commandments for the Detective Novel

Lighten Up, Ray!

Directives from Chairman Chandler "You know Chandler. Always griping about something." -- Chandler himself, in a letter to Edward Carter, 1950 Raymond Chandler was not a happy camper. In fact, he may have been about the crankiest writer who ever lived. He would have burned through the mumble-mouthed the murky, puff-headed cyber forest of discussion … Continue reading Lighten Up, Ray!

And what the hell do you mean by “hard-boiled,” for that matter?

Sadly, the original content for this page has gone missing. It featured, of course, some of the pithiest and most clever definitions of "hard-boiled" ever committed to the web by some of the best brains in the genre. The search continues, but in the mean time, here's the best example of hard-boiled writing I could … Continue reading And what the hell do you mean by “hard-boiled,” for that matter?

“The Simple Art of Murder”

By Raymond Chandler Fiction in any form has always intended to be realistic. Old-fashioned novels which now seem stilted and artificial to the point of burlesque did not appear that way to the people who first read them. Writers like Fielding and Smollett could seem realistic in the modern sense because they dealt largely with … Continue reading “The Simple Art of Murder”

There’s an old Polish proverb that says…

The Wit & Wisdom of Banacek Of course, none of the "Polish" proverbs that smug, urbane freelance insurance investigator Thomas Banacek was so fond of spouting in the popular 1972-74 NBC television series starring George Peppard actually existed -- they were whipped up by the writers. Possibly after a long lunch. In fact, even "Banacek" … Continue reading There’s an old Polish proverb that says…

When You’re Quoted, You’ll Take It and Like It!

Private Dicks Say the Darnedest Things... "We work in the dark, We do what we can, We give what we have, Our doubt is our passion, And our passion is our task" -- Henry James, "The Middle Years" (1893) "Let me explain something to you, Walsh. This business requires a certain amount of finesse. " … Continue reading When You’re Quoted, You’ll Take It and Like It!

It’s my prerogative…

This site, for those of you who haven't fallen asleep on the bus, is dedicated to private eyes. That seems pretty clear to me, and I'm pretty sure it was in that inter-office memo I sent out to all of you, but every now and then, someone starts bitching to me about who I've listed … Continue reading It’s my prerogative…

The Gospel According to Brother Ray

No serious attempt to unravel the private eye can ignore Raymond Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder" which originally appeared in the December 1944 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, reprinted in the April 15, 1950 issue Saturday Review of Literature,  and subsequently served as the non-fiction centrepiece (and title) of a 1950 collection of stories … Continue reading The Gospel According to Brother Ray