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...

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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
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Eight Million Ways to Die from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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