By Brian Docherty
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Extra info for American Crime Fiction: Studies in the Genre
The Op has to penetrate a number of appearances in order to arrive at it. This aggressive movement is strongly conveyed in the punchy prose style: 'The room was the inside of a black drum on which a giant was beating the long roll. Four guns worked together in a prolonged throbbing roar' ('The Whosis Kid', p. 190). The question of appearances is a difficult one, for they both reflect reality and obscure it. This double character of appearance points to the divided nature of the world in which the Op moves.
In choosing the genre of the thriller, Greene and Faulkner have also chosen to sour its conventional heroisms. Their focus on the 30 American Crime Fiction narrowing calculations of the criminal's vision is a double-edged commentary on the use that could be made of the limitations of the formula they were working within. The inhuman eyes of Pinkie or Popeye unsettle both the classical detective's reliance on reason as the corrective to a disordered world and the private eye's steady observation.
NB. All quotations from texts written in languages other than English are in my own translation, unless otherwise specified; but page references are to the original). Howard Haycraft, Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the 7. Detective Story (New York: Appleton-Century, 1941) p. 11. 8. Julian Symons, Mortal Consequences: A History from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel (New York: Schocken Books, 1973) p. 27. 9. 107. Cf. also William Godwin, Caleb Williams (1794); E. T. A. Hoffman, 10.
American Crime Fiction: Studies in the Genre by Brian Docherty