Poe was capable of great feats of logic himself. In short, he is the model for Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is super-humanly observant and intelligent, arrogant, detached from humanity, never visibly emotional, and seemingly unwilling or unable to fall in love. He has no respect for conventional thought or morals, and sometimes lets criminals escape when he judges their crimes justifiable. Between cases he often descends into depression and drug abuse.
His lifetime adversary, Professor Moriarty, is a sort of evil Holmes. From The Sign of the Four , chapter Holmes stories have a moral stance that Dupin stories did not, frequently showing crime as a result of moral weakness. Unlike Holmes, who uses reason guided solely by empirical observation, Father Brown uses reason guided by observation but also by intuition, a reflection of medieval scholasticism. One of his techniques is to make people dislike and underestimate him:. It is true that I can speak the exact, the idiomatic English.
But, my friend, to speak the broken English is an enormous asset. It leads people to despise you. Also I boast! He sometimes lets criminals escape, or to be punished extra-judicially. Sam Spade , the semi-hero of The Maltese Falcon novel, film , was the original hard-boiled noir detective. It is to the usual detective story as a story in which the hero fails to change is to stories in which the hero changes.
This is symbolized by the fact that, though Spade unravels the murders that happen, he never solves the original mystery—he never finds the real falcon.
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Does anybody ever? But suppose I do? What of it? Then what? The novel keeps going after it wraps up the mystery, and ends on a note of psychological horror: Sam tries to flirt with his secretary Effie, teasing her a little cruelly for her innocence, but she shrinks from him in revulsion at—what? What he did? What he is? Or that he can do such things and not be broken by them? She stood beside him, staring down at him. Her voice was queer as the expression on her face.
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He put his arm around her waist, his hand on her hip. She escaped from his arm as if it had hurt her. Effie Perine turned quickly and went into the outer office, shutting time door behind her. When she came in again she shut it behind her.
Spade, looking down at his desk, nodded almost imperceptibly. If the story is about finding the Maltese Falcon, why does it end with that scene? Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man.
He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.
He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. Marlowe is a different kind of loner. I pushed her to one side and put the key in the door and opened it and pushed her in through it. I shut the door again and stood there sniffing. The place was horrible by daylight. The Chinese junk on the walls, the rug, the fussy lamps, the teakwood stuff, the sticky riot of colors, the totem pole, the flagon of ether and laudanum—all this in the daytime had a stealthy nastiness, like a fag party.
The girl and I stood looking at each other…. The smile would wash off like water off sand and her pale skin had a harsh granular texture under the stunned and stupid blankness of her eyes. A whitish tongue licked at the corners of her mouth. A pretty, spoiled and not very bright little girl who had gone very, very wrong, and nobody was doing anything about it. It was meant to be a hard one, but a pansy [gay] has no iron in his bones, whatever he looks like. The bed was down.
Something in it giggled….
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Carmen Sternwood on her back, in my bed, giggling at me…. Her slate eyes peered at me and had the effect, as usual, of peering from behind a barrel. She smiled.
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Her small sharp teeth glinted. I went over to a floor lamp and pulled the switch, went back to put off the ceiling light, and went across the room again to the chessboard on a card table under the lamp. There was a problem laid out on the board, a six-mover. I reached down and moved a knight, then pulled my hat and coat off and threw them somewhere. All this time the soft giggling went on from the bed, that sound that made me think of rats behind a wainscoting in an old house. Then she took her left hand from under her head and took hold of the covers, paused dramatically, and swept them aside.meldysiri.gq
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She was undressed all right. She lay there on the bed in the lamplight, as naked and glistening as a pearl. The Sternwood girls were giving me both barrels that night. I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. I looked at her again. She lay still now, her face pale against the pillow, her eyes large and dark and empty as rain barrels in a drought…. There was a vague glimmer of doubt starting to get born in her somewhere.
Just the way you are, naked. Now—get started. Then she walked quickly to the door and opened it and went out, without speaking, without looking back…. I walked to the windows and pulled the shades up and opened the windows wide. The night air came drifting in with a kind of stale sweetness that still remembered automobile exhausts and the streets of the city.
I reached for my drink and drank it slowly…. I went back to the bed and looked down at it. The imprint of her head was still in the pillow, of her small corrupt body still on the sheets. It was raining again the next morning, a slanting gray rain like a swung curtain of crystal beads….
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