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I think that is one of the things that is beautiful about fiction and that you can do through drama. If I was a detective, I could make a certain version of everything we know to be exactly true. And that would have a certain kind of truth value. And there are certain other things that we know that are emotionally true.
Then there are some minor points that strike me as suggestive – for instance, the position of Mrs. Hubbard’s sponge bag, the name of Mrs. Armstrong’s mother, the detective methods of Mr. Hardman, the suggestion of Mr. MacQueen that Ratchett himself destroyed the charred note we found, Princess Dragomiroff’s Christian name, and a grease spot on a Hungarian passport.
The average detective story is probably no worse than the average novel, but you never see the average novel. It doesn’t get published. The average — or only slightly above average — detective story does…. Whereas the good novel is not at all the same kind of book as the bad novel. It is about entirely different things. But the good detective story and the bad detective story are about exactly the same things, and they are about them in very much the same way.
While I was writing poems, I would often divert myself by reading detective novels, I liked them. And there was a period when I read many of them. I absorbed the form, and I liked it, it was a good one, mostly the hard-boiled school, you know, Chandler, Hammett, and their heirs. That was the direction that interested me most.