Literary Precedents for Eight Million Ways to Die

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Block's Matt Scudder is a hard-boiled private investigator in the mainstream of a tradition whose classic ancestors are the detectives of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Such detectives have often been hard-drinking like Hammett's Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon, 1930; see separate entry) or Nick Charles (The Thin Man, 1934). Often, however, the detective's drinking has been used to establish his superhuman capacities. Here Scudder's drinking is used as a flaw that keeps him vulnerable, a common man who is uncommon in his integrity and in his tenacity in dealing with his own problems. Chandler set his detectives in the mean streets of a city, a setting that Block creates with authenticity. Chandler's detective was not to be mean himself, but a kind of knight without armor, battling injustice. Scudder is a very battle-weary knight but he still fits the mold of the champion of justice, seeking to stop killers...

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This section contains 156 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Eight Million Ways to Die Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
Eight Million Ways to Die from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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