Leila has rootled down in the archives again and pulled out this from a long time supporter of the site, a multiple contributor. This is what she said.
I admire crime stories. And I can’t help but respect the authors of the good yarns because they seem so much more organized and agile in both their thinking and ability to relate their thoughts than I’ll ever be. Hammet, Chandler, Spillaine, MacDonalad, love dem mugs.
The main attraction of a good crime story is trying to figure out what has really happened before the end arrives. This, for me, anyway, is impossible to accomplish because even in a short piece like James Hanna’s The Sicilian the possibilities are as complex and twisty as a thread of DNA. However, there lurks a great three-headed beast in the shadows for the writers of this kind of fiction: Head One: The Payoff had better be awfully damn good and make me go “Maaaan, I didn’t see that coming.”; Head Two: The Payoff had better be honest. Failed writers in this genre try to cover up holes with thin lies.; Head Three: Since these tales are always best told in the first person, that first person (no matter what he or she does) had better be somebody I want to spend time with, like Sam spade or Nick and Nora Charles.
Fortunately, Mr. Hanna was able to deftly avoid all three of the chomping heads and was somehow able to create a very short and funny version of this kind of yarn.
Let’s ask him how he did it:
Q: I enjoyed the pace. This kind of stuff has to move for it to be effective. Did you find it a challenge to incorporate the modern day technology (email exchanges and such) and still keep the time honored cop vs bad guy a personal story?
Q: Speaking of technology, is it more difficult to work up a good whodunit since there are now so many tools available to law enforcement that a caper like, say, The Red Headed League wouldn’t require the services of a smart cookie like Mr. Holmes to get to the bottom of it?