Abstract

This essay explores how the major noir writers—Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald—latched onto the strategy of keeping readers engaged by diverting our attention from preposterous plots: through mundane descriptions of furniture; through slang speech and bizarre figurative expressions; even through unrevealing descriptions of physiognomies. Each of these authors realized that true reader fascination comes not in uncovering toxic secrets or laying obscure motives bare but in prose that diverts and delays, crossing the border out of plot into a certain style, which, this essay argues, is the true reason for the allure of noir mysteries.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9595
Print ISSN
0004-1610
Pages
pp. 1-26
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-24
Open Access
No
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