Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hardboiled Chicken Dinners

Dr. Theresa told me and Laura Lippman told me and Megan Abbott told me too: now I'm finally reading MILDRED PIERCE for myself and finding out how great it is. But NOBODY told me that it would make me hungry for chicken all the time. Yes, even more so than I, THE JURY, this is the novel by a hardboiled author that is most concerned with the deliciousness of a chicken dinner - and Cain could really teach Spillane a thing or two on getting it across. Hey, doesn't "hardboiled" look better without a hyphen? My dictionary discourages me, but Megan Abbott encourages me. Even when I run across the word in a novel by Chandler or Cain there's a hyphen, but nowhere in Megan's insightful academic study THE STREET WAS MINE: WHITE MASCULINITY IN HARDBOILED FICTION AND FILM NOIR is there a hyphen (to the person who "recalled" that book and made me bring it back to the library yesterday: Phooey!). I say Megan is right. Hard-boiled eggs need a hyphen; hardboiled yeggs do not.