Wednesday, November 9, 2011

‘A Love Interest Eliminates at Least Two Useful Suspects’

Speaking of Raymond Chandler, I was propelled into a spiral of metaphor by this line in an essay of his:
Love interest nearly always weakens a mystery because it introduces a type of suspense that is antagonistic to the detective’s struggle to solve the problem. It stacks the cards, and in nine cases out of ten, it eliminates at least two useful suspects.
This seems relevant to the many young proponents of sleeping around who engage in serial romances because they are trying to find themselves. If self-discovery is a kind of murder mystery, then does introducing a love interest just eliminate two useful suspects?

I agree, that metaphor is about as user-friendly as a brutalist building. This is probably because I am unable to grasp what it is like to be interested in self-discovery, which makes me Elisha Cook Jr. in The Big Sleep (or The Killing for that matter): far less interested in who’s guilty than in getting the girl and, if possible, the loot.

But if you happen to be someone who thinks your identity is out there waiting to be collared like a murderer at a Nick Charles dinner party, then you might want to puzzle through the metaphor. 

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