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Re: [GAdetection] Re: The Cardboard Age + Halter

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  • Xavier Lechard
    ... O.K., most real-life PI s probably have more in common with Sam Spade (for the tougher ones) or The Nameless. Yet Marlowe *exists* on a level few other
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 5 11:26 AM
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      I wrote:
      >>GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE WEAK ON CHARACTERIZATION. DETECTIVES WERE
      >>NOT TRUE "CHARACTERS", BUT MERE AGREGATIONS OF EXCENTRICITIES.
      >>Troubles have simply replaced excentricities. We're a long way from
      >>actual three-dimensioned characters like Maigret or Marlowe.

      Dr. G replied:
      >Especially Maigret. It's amazing how, with so few
      >characteristics,Simenon managed to make Maigret seem so real.
      >Marlowe is a knight--romantic, not realistic.

      O.K., most real-life PI's probably have more in common with Sam Spade (for
      the tougher ones) or The Nameless. Yet Marlowe *exists* on a level few other
      fictional detectives reached.
      As to Maigret, lack of characteristics is probably reason why he is so real
      a character. Despite his well-known distrust for intelligent writers (maybe
      he meant "intellectual"?) Simenon was intelligent enough to know that you
      can achieve total realism only by avoiding any flashy effects. Maigret is
      realistic because he is commonplace.

      I said:
      >> - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FOCUSED ON HIGHER CLASSES.
      >> Our moderns are focused on lower ones. We've passed from an
      >>extreme to another. Both Golden Agers and Moderns keep ignore John
      >>Doe.

      Dr. G replied:
      >Realism is not a matter of statistics. It can be as realistic to
      >portrait murder in the family of the Earl of Doe as in the family of
      >John, the garbage man, or Mr. John Doe, accountant.

      Tell it to Denise Mina, Ian Rankin and all the British Noir gang.
      Huysmans - a favorite of JDC, by the way - once said that naturalists
      actually had little knowledge of human nature, despite their pretance to
      portray it. One could say the same about modern social-realist authors.
      Those folks don't even realize their books are even more pipe-dream than
      their cozier predecessors. Critically acclaimed author Denise Mina is a good
      example. Her "heroin", Maureen O' Donnell, is a wreck: alcoholic,
      near-schizoid, obsessed with a child-abused past. Yet she manages to do some
      sleuthing and catching serial-killing psychiatrists and other drug dealers.
      It is supposed to be realistic.

      Friendly,
      Xavier
    • Wyatt James <grobius@sprynet.com>
      Very nice, Xavier. I especially agree on this item - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FORMULAIC, FILLED WITH CLICHES AND CONVENTIONS. Nothing has changed but clichés
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 5 1:57 PM
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        Very nice, Xavier. I especially agree on this item

        - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FORMULAIC, FILLED WITH CLICHES AND
        CONVENTIONS.
        Nothing has changed but clichés and conventions. Most thrillers and
        crime
        novels are built on a formula even more rigid than GA's one, and use
        a limited
        range of situations and characters. The difference is that GA writers
        always
        tried to make something new and personal out of the old, while modern
        authors
        don't bother to recycle whole plots and climaxes. Most plots in
        contemporary
        mystery fiction are interchangeable; only characters and writing
        style make
        some difference.


        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard" <x.lechard@f...>
        wrote:
        > Not long ago, I read an article by a former Grandmaster where he
        called "square minds" locked-room fans, and Golden Age readers in
        general. According to him, contemporary mystery fiction has reached
        such a level of literary excellency that only morons can prefer
        Christie's childish mind-games. Modern authors provide deep
        psychological insights, social comments, brilliant writing style,
        blah-blah-blah. None anti-GA cliché misses. Maybe I should add a new
        topic to my "ready-made" series: ready-made criticism.
        > Most modern authors and critics share our Grandmaster's opinions,
        while often in a more polite way. Few attack readers on their
        personal tastes, but they all agree that Robert B. Parker, for an
        example, makes true "literature", while John Dickson Carr obviously
        did not. Some recognize that GA mysteries are some pleasurable to
        read, but only that. Ellery Queen and Michael Connelly don't breathe
        same air.
        > Those folks would probably be upset if they were told that
        modernity is closer to Golden Age than they think. Actually, most
        anti-GA arguments apply much better to modern era than to Golden Age
        itself.
        > - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE IRREALISTIC. NOTHING LIKE LOCKED ROOMS
        HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.
        > Actual realism of modern mysteries is dubious too. Serial killers,
        for an example, represent from 2% to 5% of criminal activity, but
        they crop up in thrillers and hardboiled/noir fiction. Same thing for
        Munchausen mothers. Cops with damaged lives, cannibal shrinks or soul-
        searching PI's are pretty rare in "real life", aren't they?
        > - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FORMULAIC, FILLED WITH CLICHES AND
        CONVENTIONS.
        > Nothing has changed but clichés and conventions. Most thrillers and
        crime novels are built on a formula even more rigid than GA's one,
        and use a limited range of situations and characters. The difference
        is that GA writers always tried to make something new and personal
        out of the old, while modern authors don't bother to recycle whole
        plots and climaxes. Most plots in contemporary mystery fiction are
        interchangeable; only characters and writing style make some
        difference.
        > - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE WEAK ON CHARACTERIZATION. DETECTIVES
        WERE NOT TRUE "CHARACTERS", BUT MERE AGREGATIONS OF EXCENTRICITIES.
        > All depends on what you call characterization. If it means that
        protagonists are better described, well, that's true. Carr never told
        us about childhood and sex life of Dr. Fell. Now if it means creation
        of human-like, three-dimensional characters, well, case is harder.
        Most detectives operating in modern mysteries are built in the same
        ideosyncrastic way as their predecessors. Troubles have simply
        replaced excentricities. We're a long way from actual three-
        dimensioned characters like Maigret or Marlowe.
        > - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FOCUSED ON HIGHER CLASSES.
        > Our moderns are focused on lower ones. We've passed from an extreme
        to another. Both Golden Agers and Moderns keep ignore John Doe.
        > - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES ABUSED ON SERIES CHARACTERS.
        > It hasn't improved. Most Golden Agers wrote stand-alones now and
        then (often their best books, by the way) and detectives often
        appeared some late in the story, allowing secondary characters to
        exist. In modern fiction, series are norm and stand-alones a growing
        rarer exception. Sleuths vampirize books they appear in, being here
        from the start and outshining people around them. One may call it a
        regression, and a serious one. Just as a sample, stand-alones
        represented 7 out of 10 Best Novel Edgar winners in the seventies.
        They were only 3 in the nineties.
        >
        > Friendly,
        > Xavier
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jon Jermey
        When I read in Agatha Christie s biography that she was influenced as a young writer by a family friend, Eden Phillpotts, I decided to see if I could find a
        Message 3 of 16 , Feb 6 3:20 PM
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          When I read in Agatha Christie's biography that she was influenced as a
          young writer by a family friend, Eden Phillpotts, I decided to see if I
          could find a Phillpotts book online to read. I found The Grey Room at
          www.blackmask.com and dutifully set to work... Three hours later I gave
          up, a broken man.

          The book is 67,000 words, but seems like ever so many more, spun out to
          enormous length by stilted late-Victorian platitudes about life and
          death, prayer and providence: "Drink the cup to the dregs," he said.
          "This is our grief, our trial. None feel and know what we feel and know,
          and your youth is called to bear a burden heavy to be borne. You must
          stand beside his grave as surely as I must commit him to it." Er, OK,
          Pop.

          The plot could be written on the back of a postcard: Sir Walter Lennox
          has a mansion with a Grey Room, full of old furniture and with a
          sinister reputation. People who spend the night in the room die, with no
          signs of violence or distress; first his aunt, then a nurse, later his
          son-in-law. A detective comes to investigate, spends an hour in the room
          during the day, and is found dead; the son-in-law's father, a vicar,
          spends the night in there praying, and is found dead. A team from
          Scotland Yard take the room apart, find nothing sinister, and spend the
          night there in gas masks, with no result. Finally an old Italian man
          reveals all, and modern forensic science solves the problem.

          I refuse to write SPOILER here; nothing could spoil this stinker.

          With a build-up like this the secret has to be something pretty special,
          you would think. Even John Dickson Carr would be hard-pressed to pull a
          rabbit out of THIS hat. But Phillpotts doesn't turn a hair. Here is the
          denoument: the bed in the room gives off a strange deadly miasma when
          heated by a human body. (What about the Scotland Yard men? "Gosh, Chief,
          we forgot to check the BED..")

          And the cause, as revealed by forensic science is - well, here is the
          full explanation. Deep breath now...

          "A thin, supple wire was found to run between the harmless flock of the
          mattress and the satin casing," wrote Sir Walter. "Experiments showed
          that neither the stuffing nor the outer case contained any harmful
          substance. But the wire, of which fifty miles wound over the upper and
          lower surfaces of the mattress under its satin upholstery, proved
          infinitely sensitive to heat, and gave off, or ejected at tremendous
          speed, an invisible, highly poisonous matter even at a lower temperature
          than that of a normal human being. Insects placed upon it perished in
          the course of a few hours, and it destroyed microscopic life and fish
          and frogs in water at comparatively low temperatures, that caused the
          living organisms no inconvenience until portions of the wire were
          introduced. A cat died in eight minutes; a monkey in ten. No pain or
          discomfort marked the operation of the wire on unconscious creatures.
          They sank into death as into sudden sleep, and examination revealed no
          physical effects whatever. The wire is an alloy, and the constituent
          metals have not yet been determined; but it is not an amalgam, for
          mercury is absent. The wire contains thallium and helium as the
          spectroscope shows; but its awful radioactivity and deadly emanation has
          yet to be explained. The chemical experts have a startling theory. They
          suspect there is a new element here—probably destined to occupy one of
          the last unfilled places of the Periodic Table, which chronicles all the
          elements known to science. Chemical analysis fails to reach the
          radio-active properties, and for their examination the electroscope and
          spinthariscope [the WHAT? - Jon] are needful. With these the
          radio-chemists are at work. The wire melted at a lower temperature than
          lead, but melting did not destroy its potency. After cooling, the metal
          retained its properties and was still responsive, as before, to warmth.
          But experiment shows that in a molten state, the metal of the wire
          increases in effect, and any living thing brought within a yard of it
          under this condition succumbs instantly. Its properties cannot be
          extracted, so far, from the actual composition of the wire. They prove
          also that the emanation from the warmed wire is exceedingly subtle,
          tenuous, and volatile. Save under conditions of super-heat, it only
          operates at two feet and a few inches, and the wire naturally grows cold
          very quickly. It is almost as light as aluminium. A gas mask does not
          arrest the poison; indeed, it evidently enters a body through the
          nearest point offered to it and a safe shield has not yet been
          discovered. Be sure that a medieval alchemist, searching in vain for
          elixir vitae, or the philosopher's stone, chanced upon this infernal
          synthesis and fusion."

          Four-hundred year old toxic wire created by an alchemist for the
          Borgias! Well, of course! Obvious when you come to think of it, really.
          Can I get some flyscreens made of that stuff? And what about the REAL
          mystery - what on earth possessed someone to scan this in for BlackMask?

          Three hundred pages, then this. It isn't just cheating the reader; it's
          high treason. Phillpotts should have been boiled in oil. Zero out of
          ten. But there is a consolation - it's only when you read a travesty
          like this that you realise how great the achievements of Christie and
          her contemporaries were, how much of a revelation to their readers.
          Hurrah for the pioneers of the Golden Age!

          Jon.
        • Xavier Lechard
          Jon -- Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience. Some classics achieved their status only by lack of any serious competitor, and The Grey Room
          Message 4 of 16 , Feb 6 4:31 PM
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            Jon --

            Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience. Some "classics" achieved
            their status only by lack of any serious competitor, and "The Grey Room"
            seems to belong to that category. There is a whole paragraph devoted to
            Philpotts in "Bloody Murder" and I think that for once you'll agree with our
            old friend Julian:

            "The crime stories written by Eden Philpotts under his own name or that of
            Harrington Hext, were among the most ridiculous of the time. Two exemples
            will be sufficient. In THE GREY ROOM (1922) people who sleep in this room
            die because the heat of the mattress releases a Borgian poison contained in
            fifty miles of wire put between the flock mattress and its satin casting.
            There is no need even for the victim to sleep on the mattress, for in one
            case a hot-water bottle placed in the bed does the trick. In a Harrington
            Hext book, THE THING AT THEIR HILLS (1923) a Radical clergyman kills four
            people so that the family estate can descend to him and because a house for
            outcasts."

            I wonder if Bill Pronzini has ever heard of Philpotts. It seems to me that
            this writer was one of the finest talents working in the "alternative"
            school and deserves more recognition.

            Friendly,
            Xavier
          • b_ergang <bergang@op.net>
            ... one of ... all the ... Actually, Jon, the substance was later explored further and proved, indeed, to merit a place on the Periodic Table of Elements. Do
            Message 5 of 16 , Feb 6 9:17 PM
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              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Jermey" <jonjermey@o...>
              wrote:
              > The chemical experts have a startling theory. They
              > suspect there is a new element here—probably destined to occupy
              one of
              > the last unfilled places of the Periodic Table, which chronicles
              all the
              > elements known to science.

              Actually, Jon, the substance was later explored further and
              proved, indeed, to merit a place on the Periodic Table of Elements.
              Do you really mean to tell me you've never heard of Nowaythium?
            • Nicholas Fuller
              Dear Jon, I confess that I, too, tried to read this book: and failed. At the fifty-page mark. Wooden characters who mouth platitudes, would-be melodrama
              Message 6 of 16 , Feb 6 10:53 PM
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                Dear Jon,
                I confess that I, too, tried to read this book: and failed. At the fifty-page mark. Wooden characters who mouth platitudes, would-be melodrama without the dubious benefit of sensation, and an excess of purple prose. As for the solution: fifty miles? One hundred and fifty kilometres? (Although the small intestine has an area of 250 square metres, so this is perhaps marginally less ludicrous than it seems. Where, though, did the Borgias get the stuff from? How did they put it into the bed without killing themselves? And how did the investigators measure it? The mind boggles at the thought of stretching the death-dealing wire across country; think of all the poor rustics it would have killed!) Phillpotts wrote a novel (under the pseudonym [which perhaps shows that he was too embarrassed to let the book appear under his real name?] of Harrington Hext) in which the city of London is reduced to ash by a camel-like creature from outer space. Later books, apparently, consist of entire pages written in broadest Devonshire dialect; is Phillpotts an author to class with the execrable Harry Stephen Keeler?
                (With this proviso, The Red Redmaynes is supposed to be the best detective novel of the period between 1887 and 1920, surpassed only by Bentley's Trent's Last Case. What, though, of Freeman and Doyle?)
                By the way, the spinthariscope is apparently "the first radiation counter." (http://www.orau.com/ptp/collection/spinthariscopes/spintharcrookes.htm) Compare Phillpotts's science (poisons unknown to science, hardly elementary my dear Eden!) with that of Freeman, and there's a very sizeable gap.
                Nick


                'There is no past tense in the conjugation of genius, especially when it has left us whatever of itself can be conveyed by the printed page.'--Gladys Mitchell, Death and the Maiden (1947).



                ---------------------------------
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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • RICHARD LIEDHOLM
                Jon- You forget one blessed thing about your Grey Room experience. By going to Blackmask.com, you didn t have to pay for it. Imagine if you ordered this
                Message 7 of 16 , Feb 7 4:05 PM
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                  Jon- You forget one blessed thing about your 'Grey Room' experience. By going to Blackmask.com, you didn't have to pay for it. Imagine if you ordered this 'masterpiece' on Ebay and paid $20 for it!! The wallet trembles...

                  Richard

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Jon Jermey
                  Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 5:21 PM
                  To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [GAdetection] Eden Phillpotts - The Grey Room

                  When I read in Agatha Christie's biography that she was influenced as a
                  young writer by a family friend, Eden Phillpotts, I decided to see if I
                  could find a Phillpotts book online to read. I found The Grey Room at
                  www.blackmask.com and dutifully set to work... Three hours later I gave
                  up, a broken man.

                  The book is 67,000 words, but seems like ever so many more, spun out to
                  enormous length by stilted late-Victorian platitudes about life and
                  death, prayer and providence: "Drink the cup to the dregs," he said.
                  "This is our grief, our trial. None feel and know what we feel and know,
                  and your youth is called to bear a burden heavy to be borne. You must
                  stand beside his grave as surely as I must commit him to it." Er, OK,
                  Pop.

                  The plot could be written on the back of a postcard: Sir Walter Lennox
                  has a mansion with a Grey Room, full of old furniture and with a
                  sinister reputation. People who spend the night in the room die, with no
                  signs of violence or distress; first his aunt, then a nurse, later his
                  son-in-law. A detective comes to investigate, spends an hour in the room
                  during the day, and is found dead; the son-in-law's father, a vicar,
                  spends the night in there praying, and is found dead. A team from
                  Scotland Yard take the room apart, find nothing sinister, and spend the
                  night there in gas masks, with no result. Finally an old Italian man
                  reveals all, and modern forensic science solves the problem.

                  I refuse to write SPOILER here; nothing could spoil this stinker.

                  With a build-up like this the secret has to be something pretty special,
                  you would think. Even John Dickson Carr would be hard-pressed to pull a
                  rabbit out of THIS hat. But Phillpotts doesn't turn a hair. Here is the
                  denoument: the bed in the room gives off a strange deadly miasma when
                  heated by a human body. (What about the Scotland Yard men? "Gosh, Chief,
                  we forgot to check the BED..")

                  And the cause, as revealed by forensic science is - well, here is the
                  full explanation. Deep breath now...

                  "A thin, supple wire was found to run between the harmless flock of the
                  mattress and the satin casing," wrote Sir Walter. "Experiments showed
                  that neither the stuffing nor the outer case contained any harmful
                  substance. But the wire, of which fifty miles wound over the upper and
                  lower surfaces of the mattress under its satin upholstery, proved
                  infinitely sensitive to heat, and gave off, or ejected at tremendous
                  speed, an invisible, highly poisonous matter even at a lower temperature
                  than that of a normal human being. Insects placed upon it perished in
                  the course of a few hours, and it destroyed microscopic life and fish
                  and frogs in water at comparatively low temperatures, that caused the
                  living organisms no inconvenience until portions of the wire were
                  introduced. A cat died in eight minutes; a monkey in ten. No pain or
                  discomfort marked the operation of the wire on unconscious creatures.
                  They sank into death as into sudden sleep, and examination revealed no
                  physical effects whatever. The wire is an alloy, and the constituent
                  metals have not yet been determined; but it is not an amalgam, for
                  mercury is absent. The wire contains thallium and helium as the
                  spectroscope shows; but its awful radioactivity and deadly emanation has
                  yet to be explained. The chemical experts have a startling theory. They
                  suspect there is a new element here—probably destined to occupy one of
                  the last unfilled places of the Periodic Table, which chronicles all the
                  elements known to science. Chemical analysis fails to reach the
                  radio-active properties, and for their examination the electroscope and
                  spinthariscope [the WHAT? - Jon] are needful. With these the
                  radio-chemists are at work. The wire melted at a lower temperature than
                  lead, but melting did not destroy its potency. After cooling, the metal
                  retained its properties and was still responsive, as before, to warmth.
                  But experiment shows that in a molten state, the metal of the wire
                  increases in effect, and any living thing brought within a yard of it
                  under this condition succumbs instantly. Its properties cannot be
                  extracted, so far, from the actual composition of the wire. They prove
                  also that the emanation from the warmed wire is exceedingly subtle,
                  tenuous, and volatile. Save under conditions of super-heat, it only
                  operates at two feet and a few inches, and the wire naturally grows cold
                  very quickly. It is almost as light as aluminium. A gas mask does not
                  arrest the poison; indeed, it evidently enters a body through the
                  nearest point offered to it and a safe shield has not yet been
                  discovered. Be sure that a medieval alchemist, searching in vain for
                  elixir vitae, or the philosopher's stone, chanced upon this infernal
                  synthesis and fusion."

                  Four-hundred year old toxic wire created by an alchemist for the
                  Borgias! Well, of course! Obvious when you come to think of it, really.
                  Can I get some flyscreens made of that stuff? And what about the REAL
                  mystery - what on earth possessed someone to scan this in for BlackMask?

                  Three hundred pages, then this. It isn't just cheating the reader; it's
                  high treason. Phillpotts should have been boiled in oil. Zero out of
                  ten. But there is a consolation - it's only when you read a travesty
                  like this that you realise how great the achievements of Christie and
                  her contemporaries were, how much of a revelation to their readers.
                  Hurrah for the pioneers of the Golden Age!

                  Jon.


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                • Wyatt James <grobius@sprynet.com>
                  PS. Maigret is also extremely boring, in spite of (or because of?) his pipe -- his only characteristic. I ve yet to read a Maigret where he shows the slightest
                  Message 8 of 16 , Feb 7 6:56 PM
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                    PS. Maigret is also extremely boring, in spite of (or because of?)
                    his pipe -- his only characteristic. I've yet to read a Maigret where
                    he shows the slightest sign of being a detective rather than a
                    traffic officer.

                    As to Noir and all that.... I agree for the most part, also that
                    Marlowe transcends the lot of those dreary Robichaux'. But have you
                    kept up with Block's Scudder books? They really get better and better.
                    Started out with this wounded duck PI with all his alcoholic problems
                    that made the books hard to read, even with good plots (actually
                    excellent plots -- another topic). That's just a vestigial tail now
                    with this wonderful character. In "A Long Line of Dead Men" he
                    actually becomes a member of the Club of 31. If such a club existed,
                    shades of the Illuminati, it would be wonderful to be honored by
                    membership. And Scudder deserves it. Scudder is one of the
                    most 'alive' of these modern heros and heroines. And the books have
                    been transcending the sub-genres of detective fiction (PI,
                    noir, 'procedural crime', mass murderers, sex fiends, racketeers,
                    fraud, crooked lawyers, you name it). They are the best books, bar
                    none, of the hard-boiled school of current times.

                    --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard" <x.lechard@f...>
                    wrote:
                    > I wrote:
                    > >>GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE WEAK ON CHARACTERIZATION. DETECTIVES
                    WERE
                    > >>NOT TRUE "CHARACTERS", BUT MERE AGREGATIONS OF EXCENTRICITIES.
                    > >>Troubles have simply replaced excentricities. We're a long way
                    from
                    > >>actual three-dimensioned characters like Maigret or Marlowe.
                    >
                    > Dr. G replied:
                    > >Especially Maigret. It's amazing how, with so few
                    > >characteristics,Simenon managed to make Maigret seem so real.
                    > >Marlowe is a knight--romantic, not realistic.
                    >
                    > O.K., most real-life PI's probably have more in common with Sam
                    Spade (for
                    > the tougher ones) or The Nameless. Yet Marlowe *exists* on a level
                    few other
                    > fictional detectives reached.
                    > As to Maigret, lack of characteristics is probably reason why he is
                    so real
                    > a character. Despite his well-known distrust for intelligent
                    writers (maybe
                    > he meant "intellectual"?) Simenon was intelligent enough to know
                    that you
                    > can achieve total realism only by avoiding any flashy effects.
                    Maigret is
                    > realistic because he is commonplace.
                    >
                    > I said:
                    > >> - GOLDEN AGE MYSTERIES WERE FOCUSED ON HIGHER CLASSES.
                    > >> Our moderns are focused on lower ones. We've passed from an
                    > >>extreme to another. Both Golden Agers and Moderns keep ignore John
                    > >>Doe.
                    >
                    > Dr. G replied:
                    > >Realism is not a matter of statistics. It can be as realistic to
                    > >portrait murder in the family of the Earl of Doe as in the family
                    of
                    > >John, the garbage man, or Mr. John Doe, accountant.
                    >
                    > Tell it to Denise Mina, Ian Rankin and all the British Noir gang.
                    > Huysmans - a favorite of JDC, by the way - once said that
                    naturalists
                    > actually had little knowledge of human nature, despite their
                    pretance to
                    > portray it. One could say the same about modern social-realist
                    authors.
                    > Those folks don't even realize their books are even more pipe-dream
                    than
                    > their cozier predecessors. Critically acclaimed author Denise Mina
                    is a good
                    > example. Her "heroin", Maureen O' Donnell, is a wreck: alcoholic,
                    > near-schizoid, obsessed with a child-abused past. Yet she manages
                    to do some
                    > sleuthing and catching serial-killing psychiatrists and other drug
                    dealers.
                    > It is supposed to be realistic.
                    >
                    > Friendly,
                    > Xavier
                  • Wyatt James <grobius@sprynet.com>
                    Before Yahoo burped on me and erased my essay on Phillpotts, there were some points I wanted to make, one of which is that he was a very prolific and
                    Message 9 of 16 , Feb 7 9:00 PM
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                      Before Yahoo burped on me and erased my essay on Phillpotts, there
                      were some points I wanted to make, one of which is that he was a very
                      prolific and reasonably popular author in his day (hence Agatha
                      Christie's admiration), sort of a John Grisham. "The Red Redmaynes"
                      is his best, and actually is very well worth reading. Class 'B-' GAD.
                      I think you would like it. And it really IS GAD rank.

                      But of course he also wrote a lot of junk, as Symons pointed out. He
                      was, however, a pro, writing what his readers (and publishers)
                      wanted. Fashions change, so he's out. Not likely to come back in
                      again, however. What I'd love to see is the Kipling-class writer H.
                      Rider Haggard come back into fashion, one of the most underrated
                      great adventure/fantasy writers in the English language. And one
                      hopes for a Hope (Zenda) revival) too. They don't write 'em like that
                      any more.

                      PS. I love 'poisons unknown to science', especially the ones that
                      compound helium (a 'noble' gas that doesn't combine with anything)
                      with undiscovered metals in the Periodic Chart. This is Alternative
                      Chemistry along the lines of that marvellous Italian guy's (forget
                      his name) Alternative Biology.



                      --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard" <x.lechard@f...>
                      wrote:
                      > Jon --
                      >
                      > Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience. Some "classics"
                      achieved
                      > their status only by lack of any serious competitor, and "The Grey
                      Room"
                      > seems to belong to that category. There is a whole paragraph
                      devoted to
                      > Philpotts in "Bloody Murder" and I think that for once you'll agree
                      with our
                      > old friend Julian:
                      >
                      > "The crime stories written by Eden Philpotts under his own name or
                      that of
                      > Harrington Hext, were among the most ridiculous of the time. Two
                      exemples
                      > will be sufficient. In THE GREY ROOM (1922) people who sleep in
                      this room
                      > die because the heat of the mattress releases a Borgian poison
                      contained in
                      > fifty miles of wire put between the flock mattress and its satin
                      casting.
                      > There is no need even for the victim to sleep on the mattress, for
                      in one
                      > case a hot-water bottle placed in the bed does the trick. In a
                      Harrington
                      > Hext book, THE THING AT THEIR HILLS (1923) a Radical clergyman
                      kills four
                      > people so that the family estate can descend to him and because a
                      house for
                      > outcasts."
                      >
                      > I wonder if Bill Pronzini has ever heard of Philpotts. It seems to
                      me that
                      > this writer was one of the finest talents working in
                      the "alternative"
                      > school and deserves more recognition.
                      >
                      > Friendly,
                      > Xavier
                    • Wyatt James <grobius@sprynet.com>
                      No, it s actually Californium (a real element). Don t think it compounds with helium though -- isn t that considered one of the Noble gases that doesn t mix
                      Message 10 of 16 , Feb 7 9:06 PM
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                        No, it's actually Californium (a real element). Don't think it
                        compounds with helium though -- isn't that considered one of the
                        Noble gases that doesn't mix with anything or body?

                        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "b_ergang <bergang@o...>"
                        <bergang@o...> wrote:
                        > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Jermey" <jonjermey@o...>
                        > wrote:
                        > > The chemical experts have a startling theory. They
                        > > suspect there is a new element here—probably destined to occupy
                        > one of
                        > > the last unfilled places of the Periodic Table, which chronicles
                        > all the
                        > > elements known to science.
                        >
                        > Actually, Jon, the substance was later explored further and
                        > proved, indeed, to merit a place on the Periodic Table of Elements.
                        > Do you really mean to tell me you've never heard of Nowaythium?
                      • luis molina
                        THE BOOK AND ITS SEQUEL ARE VERY GOOD! ... __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up
                        Message 11 of 16 , Feb 8 9:51 AM
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                          THE BOOK AND ITS SEQUEL ARE VERY GOOD!



                          > a Hope (Zenda) revival) too. They don't
                          > write 'em like that
                          > any more.
                          >
                          >

                          > guy's (forget
                          > his name) Alternative Biology.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Xavier Lechard"
                          > <x.lechard@f...>
                          > wrote:
                          > > Jon --
                          > >
                          > > Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience.
                          > Some "classics"
                          > achieved
                          > > their status only by lack of any serious
                          > competitor, and "The Grey
                          > Room"
                          > > seems to belong to that category. There is a whole
                          > paragraph
                          > devoted to
                          > > Philpotts in "Bloody Murder" and I think that for
                          > once you'll agree
                          > with our
                          > > old friend Julian:
                          > >
                          > > "The crime stories written by Eden Philpotts under
                          > his own name or
                          > that of
                          > > Harrington Hext, were among the most ridiculous of
                          > the time. Two
                          > exemples
                          > > will be sufficient. In THE GREY ROOM (1922) people
                          > who sleep in
                          > this room
                          > > die because the heat of the mattress releases a
                          > Borgian poison
                          > contained in
                          > > fifty miles of wire put between the flock mattress
                          > and its satin
                          > casting.
                          > > There is no need even for the victim to sleep on
                          > the mattress, for
                          > in one
                          > > case a hot-water bottle placed in the bed does the
                          > trick. In a
                          > Harrington
                          > > Hext book, THE THING AT THEIR HILLS (1923) a
                          > Radical clergyman
                          > kills four
                          > > people so that the family estate can descend to
                          > him and because a
                          > house for
                          > > outcasts."
                          > >
                          > > I wonder if Bill Pronzini has ever heard of
                          > Philpotts. It seems to
                          > me that
                          > > this writer was one of the finest talents working
                          > in
                          > the "alternative"
                          > > school and deserves more recognition.
                          > >
                          > > Friendly,
                          > > Xavier
                          >
                          >


                          __________________________________________________
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                        • William F. Deeck
                          ... From: Xavier Lechard [mailto:x.lechard@free.fr] Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:32 PM To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Eden
                          Message 12 of 16 , Feb 16 7:16 AM
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                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: Xavier Lechard [mailto:x.lechard@...]
                            Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:32 PM
                            To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Eden Phillpotts - The Grey Room


                            Jon --

                            Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience. Some "classics" achieved
                            their status only by lack of any serious competitor, and "The Grey Room"
                            seems to belong to that category. There is a whole paragraph devoted to
                            Philpotts in "Bloody Murder" and I think that for once you'll agree with our
                            old friend Julian:

                            "The crime stories written by Eden Philpotts under his own name or that of
                            Harrington Hext, were among the most ridiculous of the time. Two exemples
                            will be sufficient. In THE GREY ROOM (1922) people who sleep in this room
                            die because the heat of the mattress releases a Borgian poison contained in
                            fifty miles of wire put between the flock mattress and its satin casting.
                            There is no need even for the victim to sleep on the mattress, for in one
                            case a hot-water bottle placed in the bed does the trick. In a Harrington
                            Hext book, THE THING AT THEIR HILLS (1923) a Radical clergyman kills four
                            people so that the family estate can descend to him and because a house for
                            outcasts."

                            I wonder if Bill Pronzini has ever heard of Philpotts. It seems to me that
                            this writer was one of the finest talents working in the "alternative"
                            school and deserves more recognition.

                            Friendly,
                            Xavier




                            Anthony Boucher's review of Eden Philpotts's "They Were Seven":

                            "Because he has a reputation as a serious novelist, critics invariably treat
                            the mysteries of Eden Philpotts with reverent awe. His characters are
                            wooden, his dialogue is unspeakable [I suppose Boucher meant this in both
                            senses of the word], his books are endless and actionless and his plots are
                            stupidly unfair; and this latest product of the Grand Old Man (now 83)
                            differs from others only in being even longer. It will undoubtedly meet with
                            a chorus of tactful praise, but I still say the Emperor has no clothes on."


                            And his review of "Flower of the Gods":

                            "Eccentric English botanist disappears upon receipt of rare Andean flower;
                            after a year or so a solution is reached, with infinite talk and no action.
                            A doctor's prescription should be required for this powerful soporific."
                          • Wyatt James <grobius@sprynet.com>
                            Philpotts may have been a hack writer, but don t denigrate his The Red Redmaynes , which is actually quite good. ... achieved ... Room ... devoted to ...
                            Message 13 of 16 , Feb 16 4:39 PM
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                              Philpotts may have been a hack writer, but don't denigrate his "The
                              Red Redmaynes", which is actually quite good.


                              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "William F. Deeck"
                              <billdeeck@a...> wrote:
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: Xavier Lechard [mailto:x.lechard@f...]
                              > Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:32 PM
                              > To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [GAdetection] Eden Phillpotts - The Grey Room
                              >
                              >
                              > Jon --
                              >
                              > Thanks for avoiding us such a painful experience. Some "classics"
                              achieved
                              > their status only by lack of any serious competitor, and "The Grey
                              Room"
                              > seems to belong to that category. There is a whole paragraph
                              devoted to
                              > Philpotts in "Bloody Murder" and I think that for once you'll agree
                              with our
                              > old friend Julian:
                              >
                              > "The crime stories written by Eden Philpotts under his own name or
                              that of
                              > Harrington Hext, were among the most ridiculous of the time. Two
                              exemples
                              > will be sufficient. In THE GREY ROOM (1922) people who sleep in
                              this room
                              > die because the heat of the mattress releases a Borgian poison
                              contained in
                              > fifty miles of wire put between the flock mattress and its satin
                              casting.
                              > There is no need even for the victim to sleep on the mattress, for
                              in one
                              > case a hot-water bottle placed in the bed does the trick. In a
                              Harrington
                              > Hext book, THE THING AT THEIR HILLS (1923) a Radical clergyman
                              kills four
                              > people so that the family estate can descend to him and because a
                              house for
                              > outcasts."
                              >
                              > I wonder if Bill Pronzini has ever heard of Philpotts. It seems to
                              me that
                              > this writer was one of the finest talents working in
                              the "alternative"
                              > school and deserves more recognition.
                              >
                              > Friendly,
                              > Xavier
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Anthony Boucher's review of Eden Philpotts's "They Were Seven":
                              >
                              > "Because he has a reputation as a serious novelist, critics
                              invariably treat
                              > the mysteries of Eden Philpotts with reverent awe. His characters
                              are
                              > wooden, his dialogue is unspeakable [I suppose Boucher meant this
                              in both
                              > senses of the word], his books are endless and actionless and his
                              plots are
                              > stupidly unfair; and this latest product of the Grand Old Man (now
                              83)
                              > differs from others only in being even longer. It will undoubtedly
                              meet with
                              > a chorus of tactful praise, but I still say the Emperor has no
                              clothes on."
                              >
                              >
                              > And his review of "Flower of the Gods":
                              >
                              > "Eccentric English botanist disappears upon receipt of rare Andean
                              flower;
                              > after a year or so a solution is reached, with infinite talk and no
                              action.
                              > A doctor's prescription should be required for this powerful
                              soporific."
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