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"Ordinary Pocket Litter": Paper(s) as Dangerous Supplement(s) in Cold War Novels of Intrigue

"Ordinary Pocket Litter": Paper(s) as Dangerous Supplement(s) in Cold War Novels of Intrigue JACQUELINE FOER TSCH “Ordinary Pocket Litter”: Paper(s) as Dangerous Supplement(s) in Cold War Novels of Intrigue “[Y]ou know I never write on anything...” Jacques Derrida, The Post Card n Mickey Spillane’s One Lonely Night (1951), arguably his most overtly cold war–oriented novel of private investigative intrigue, detective-hero Mike Hammer encounters a commie siren named Ethel Brighton, who leads him into a world of atomic brinksmanship and stolen documents. In a key moment, Mike hears a radio report (although later he thinks about the frightening news as displayed in “the papers”) that “The latest development in the process for the annihilation of man had been stolen. Supposedly secret files had been rifled and indications pointed to the duplication of secret papers” (100). In a plot more convoluted than even the typi- cal Hammer yarn, both Mike and a communist general chase these documents across a landscape littered with cigarette packs, lost IDs, and torn coat pockets (not to mention two or three brutally dis- patched bodies); obviously his Red adversaries have dealt Mike a serious setback, and Mike pictures “the world in flames” (100), ignited, ironically, by papers and the secrets they contain. In a later scene, Ethel ignites a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

"Ordinary Pocket Litter": Paper(s) as Dangerous Supplement(s) in Cold War Novels of Intrigue

Contemporary Literature , Volume 48 (2) – Jul 25, 2007

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949

Abstract

JACQUELINE FOER TSCH “Ordinary Pocket Litter”: Paper(s) as Dangerous Supplement(s) in Cold War Novels of Intrigue “[Y]ou know I never write on anything...” Jacques Derrida, The Post Card n Mickey Spillane’s One Lonely Night (1951), arguably his most overtly cold war–oriented novel of private investigative intrigue, detective-hero Mike Hammer encounters a commie siren named Ethel Brighton, who leads him into a world of atomic brinksmanship and stolen documents. In a key moment, Mike hears a radio report (although later he thinks about the frightening news as displayed in “the papers”) that “The latest development in the process for the annihilation of man had been stolen. Supposedly secret files had been rifled and indications pointed to the duplication of secret papers” (100). In a plot more convoluted than even the typi- cal Hammer yarn, both Mike and a communist general chase these documents across a landscape littered with cigarette packs, lost IDs, and torn coat pockets (not to mention two or three brutally dis- patched bodies); obviously his Red adversaries have dealt Mike a serious setback, and Mike pictures “the world in flames” (100), ignited, ironically, by papers and the secrets they contain. In a later scene, Ethel ignites a

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Jul 25, 2007

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