the simple art of murder

Raymond Chandler
There are things which are interesting again and again, forever. Raymond Chandler‘s essay The Simple Art of Murder (1950 [1944]) I already have read multiple times, quoted from it in Cyberanthropology,’ and so on. Now I just stumbled over it again, via the cyberpunk reading list, where the essay is commented like this:

When reading it, replace ‘mystery novel’ with ‘sci-fi novel’ and its amazing. Every complaint the Cyberpunk authors had about ‘classic sci-fi’ is there as a complaint about ‘classic detective stories.’ – Logan Joshua Ratner

We just had it that William Gibson prefers Dashiell Hammett and is not a fan of Chandler. Well, Chandler himself was a big fan of Hammett—that too shines up brightly in the essay:

Hammett took murder out of the Venetian vase and dropped it into the alley; it doesn’t have to stay there forever, but it was a good idea to begin by getting as far as possible from Emily Post’s idea of how a well-bred debutante gnaws a chicken wing. He wrote at first (and almost to the end) for people with a sharp, aggressive attitude to life. They were not afraid of the seamy side of things; they lived there. Violence did not dismay them; it was right down their street.
    Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought duelling pistols, curare, and tropical fish. He put these people down on paper as they are, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used for these purposes. He had style, but his audience didn’t know it, because it was in a language not supposed to be capable of such refinements. (Chandler 1950 [1944]: 530)

CHANDLER, RAYMOND THORNTON. 1950 [1944]. “The simple art of murder,” in The simple art of murder by Raymond Thornton Chandler, pp. 519-533. Originally published in The Atlantic Monthly December 1944. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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