The Simple Art of Murder

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In The Simple Art of Murder, Raymond Chandler lays a hard series of jabs to the guts of most "detective"  novels prior to and including his own era - he wields a harsh pen against some of his contemporary's. What follows are then short stories penned by the "sage grandfather of noir". I have not yet read the short stories, but as I find time over the next few days I will.

The essay is a great read of the type of penmanship you seldom see nowadays - very useful, for example, if you enjoy replying to the comments section of any Bangkok Post article.   


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Within Chandler's scalding essay on the state of crime writing, in particular, 

"The detective story (perhaps I had better call it that, since the English formula still dominates the trade)" - Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder, An Essay.

Chandler does lay praise on Dashiell Hammett. 

The focus of Chandler's essay is realism - from dialogue through the likelihood of the supposed "crimes" where he rips into the missed procedures of the British crime writing of the time (vs. the "noir novel") and quaint ways of some amateur genius coming along to solve the riddle while the police grudgingly scratch their collective heads in marvel at the cleverness of the young man from Oxford - I paraphrase but that's the gist of it - entertaining reading.  

Of course as I read this essay I have in the back of my mind what Chandler would have thought of the Bangkok series? It is a fearsome motivator for one to write, think, and rewrite - the focus is realism; and, much like Chandler's writing, to be entertaining.

 

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If you live under the auspices of Canada's copyright laws, you can legally download the original Dashiell Hammett books here for all formats.

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