Otto Penzler, dean of mystery-writing in America,
flaps his sexist lip(link via Sarah Weinman):
“The women who write [cozies] stop the action to go shopping, create a recipe, or take care of cats,” he says. “Cozies are not serious literature. They don’t deserve to win. Men take [writing] more seriously as art. Men labor over a book to make it literature. There are wonderful exceptions, of course—P.D. James, Ruth Rendell.”
So if Raymond Chandler had been Raymona, would The Long Goodbye have read like this?
“The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers, so drunk that he had gotten all the ingredients to Miss Stella’s Mystery Cake mixed up. The secret ingredient is tomato, lots of it. I knew that. But then I knew that the tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Terry Lennox didn’t.
The parking lot attendant had brought the car out and he was still holding the door open because Terry Lennox’s left foot was still dangling outside, as if he had forgotten he had one….You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline, but otherwise he looked like any other nice young guy in a dinner jacket who had been spending too much money in a joint that exists for that purpose and for no other. I know the feeling. I’ve been in a Walmart or two during discount sale season myself.
There was a girl beside him. Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink (you can get two for the price of one at Macy’s) that almost made the Rolls-Royce look like just another automobile. It didn’t quite. Nothing can…
The drunk promptly slid off the seat and landed on the blacktop on the seat of his pants….I got him under the arms and got him up on his feet.
‘Thank you so very much,” he said politely.
The girl slid under the wheel. “He gets so goddam English when he’s loaded,” she said in a stainless-steel voice. “Thanks for catching him.”
“I’ll get him in the back of the car,” I said.
“I’m terribly sorry. I’m late for an engagement.” She let the clutch in and the Rolls started to glide. “He’s just a lost dog,” she added with a cool smile. “Perhaps you can find a home for him. He’s housebroken–more or less.” You couldn’t say the same for the cat that was shedding orange fur all over her blue mink. “Here, Kitty,” I said politely. The girl turned up the frost on the smile. “Her name,” she said in a voice that would have made a Glaser stainless-steel knife seem blunt, “is Princess Wuffles.”