You had to play the big scene

“You had to play the big scene,” he said coldly. “Stand on your rights, talk about the law. How ingenuous can a man get, Marlowe? A man like you who is supposed to know his way around. The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.”

Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

Everything written

Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality: there are no dull subjects, only dull minds. All men who read escape from something else into what lies behind the printed page; the quality of the dream may be argued, but its release has become a functional necessity. All men must escape at times from the deadly rhythm of their private thoughts. It is part of the process of life among thinking beings.

Raymond Chandler

The mystery story

The mystery story is a kind of writing that need not dwell in the shadow of the past and owes little if any allegiance to the cult of the classics. It is a good deal more than unlikely that any writer now living will produce a better historical novel than Henry Esmond, a better tale of children than The Golden Age, a sharper social vignette than Madame Bovary, a more graceful and elegant evocation than The Spoils of Poynton, a wider and richer canvas than War and Peace or The Brothers Karamazov. But to devise a more plausible mystery than The Hound of the Baskervilles or The Purloined Letter should not be too difficult. Nowadays it would be rather more difficult not to.

Raymond Chandler

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

attributed to George Bernard Shaw

The little blonde

The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like ear and smiled a small fluffy smile. She looked playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself, like a new kitten in a house where they don’t care much about kittens.

~ Raymond Chandler, Lady in the Lake

The criminal must be mentioned

  1. The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.
  2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
  3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
  4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
  5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.
  6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
  7. The detective himself must not commit the crime.
  8. The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
  9. The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
  10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.”

― Ronald A. Knox

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (17 February 1888 – 24 August 1957) was an English priest who is famous for being the precursor of the Sherlockiana with the publication in 1912 of his article Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes.

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

–Robert A. Heinlein

Although I don’t use it nearly so much anymore

Although I don’t use it nearly so much anymore, I’ve decided, five years down the line, that Mr. Treadstone’s verdict on ‘kind of’ was kind of unjust. Obviously, this phrase can be redundant or reductive, or just plain stupid in some sentences, but not in all sentences. I wouldn’t, for example, use a sentence like ‘Antarctica is kind of cold’, or ‘Hitler was kind of evil’. But sometimes, things aren’t black and white. And sometimes ‘kind of’ expresses this better than any other phrase. For example, when I tell you that my mother was kind of peculiar, I can think of no better way of putting this.
― Gavin Extence

And all dared

And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before–and thus was the Empire forged.
― Douglas Adams

All your yesteryears

I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.

~ Beryl Markham

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