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Author Interviews

8/4 Sherry Harris, A Time to Swill

8/11 Authors of The Fish That Got Away

8/18 Authors of Mutt Murders, To Fetch A Killer

8/25 Alyssa Maxwell, Murder at Wakehurst

Guest Bloggers

8/21 Nancy Nau Sullivan

WWK Special Blogger

8/7 V. M. Burns


Friday, February 16, 2018

The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler: A Review by Warren Bull

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The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler

 In the essay Chandler writes about the odd practice of writing crime fiction. He reflects that writers of  “really important books” dislike the greater popularity of mystery fiction. He admits he isn’t too fond of it either since as a mystery writer he has too much competition.  Chandler notes that the good detective story is nearly the same as the bad detective story.

The author writes about the mistakes mystery writers make. He dissects A. A. Milne’s The Red House and lists seven areas where the plot differs from reality. Milne’s book is particularly fragile in terms of logic. Chandler also addresses novels from other notable authors that are  “too contrived” to be intellectual problems or artistic fiction.

Chandler writes that Dashiell Hammett tried to write realistic detective stories. It was not that Hammett was trying to be artistic; he was trying to make a living by writing. Chandler credits Hammett with writing “scenes that seemed never to have been written before.” He also credits Hammett with making writing “fun.”

Chandler ends with a description of the detective in realistic crime fiction. I have purposely not quoted the wry humor and word play Chandler displayed because I don’t want detract from the pleasure reader will get from reading the essay. And you really should read it. This is a truly excellent essay.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I will read it. Thanks for the recommendation.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I read this years ago, and enjoyed it. Perhaps it's time to revisit it.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I don't remember reading anything by Chandler, but now I'm looking forward to reading this one.