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The Tea and Muffins School of Writing

IF: Would you say there are any basic differences between the English and the American thriller?
RC: Oh yes. An American thriller is much faster paced.
IF: We’ve got into a rather ‘tea and muffins’ school of writing here, I think. Policemen are much too nice and always drinking cups of tea, and inspectors puff away at pipes and the whole thing goes on in a rather sort of quiet atmosphere in some little village somewhere in England. Of course, you’ve got the private-eye tradition which we haven’t got so much over here because our private detectives are on the whole just ordinary people who go and follow married couples around and try to catch them out.
RC: Same as they are in America . . .
IF: Yes, but they’re written up to be much more.
RC: A private eye is a catalyst, a man who resolves the situation. He doesn’t exist in real life. Unless you can make him seem real. He doesn’t make any money either.

Conversation between Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler, 1958

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