Category Archives: Classics

Hammett on Hammett: The Case of the Mystery Editor

Maxwell Perkins coached and encouraged F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gordon Lish often slashed more than half of Raymond Carver’s stories. Thanks to letters, journals, and literary scholars, readers can see the trajectories of manuscripts from draft to printed page. Not just … Continue reading

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Immortal Horses and Two Urns

Like most people, I visit online sites for my news, limiting my interest to relevant news, avoiding crime stories and outright negativity in politics. Perhaps it’s browser history and cached cookies, but I am served up content that ranges from … Continue reading

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A Defense from the Gutter: the case for Crime Fiction as ‘Serious’ Literature

In a recent review of Jake Hinkson’s latest effort, the reviewer’s choice of words: “The Deepening Shade is very much at the literary end of the crime genre…” chafed me like sand in a bathing suit. I remain perplexed why … Continue reading

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The colonel is dead

The colonel died yesterday. Gabriel García Márquez may have passed away in a hospital in Mexico City, but for many who affectionately called him Gabo, he simply walked into the forest of his Macondo. I call him the ‘colonel’ because … Continue reading

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The Hunter of Hearts

By all accounts she was a difficult human being, a talented writer, a self-described “holy terror,” and in appearance both adolescent and a gargoyle. I prefer not to focus on the negative aspects of her character, because I think there … Continue reading

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Here Comes Poor Johnny

The standard interpretation of Milton’s sonnet “When I consider how my light is spent” argues that the poet is speaking about his blindness, a loss that torments him to the point of considering suicide, but he lacks the “talent” to … Continue reading

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The Killer Inside the American Novelist

“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” This provocative quote appeared in Studies in Classic American Literature (1923). The author may surprise you: not Jim Thompson, but D.H. Lawrence. What may surprise you more is that … Continue reading

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