|One finds quite a lot of dialect speech and|
foreign accents in this Fletcher mystery
[The Orange-Yellow Diamond] has a leisurely movement that is distinctly pleasing to the reader, without really retarding the novel's action, and one never loses the sense--that in so many detective stories one never gains--that this is really a story about human beings. At the same time, the American reader may be expected to express a certain weary irritation with the character who is presented as being "a New York man," who in the course of one short speech gives vent to "I guess," "Say," "I reckon," and "I've knocked around pretty considerable."
I can sympathize. Golden Age British mystery writers often had a regrettable fondness for "colorful" dialect speech, and too rarely were they very good at it (Dorothy L. Sayers, on the other hand, may do too good a job with her Scots speech in The Five Red Herrings--readers have been known to complain that they can't understand anything the characters in this novel say!).
The stage Cockney spoken by so many working class characters in Golden Age detective novels had been mocked by critics of the period like Colin Watson, but the American speech in these books--which surely is every bit as dreadful--doesn't seem to get as much derisory notice. I can't think why!
Another thing authors like Fletcher, Christie and Freeman Wills Crofts like to do when they portray Americans, besides having them use (and use) the expressions quoted above, is give them these dreadful, cumbersome names like Carthage T. Cudcruncher. Usually such an individual is a voluble, self-made millionaire from Chicago or some obscure spot on the Great Plains, like, say (say!), Prairie Oyster, Kansas.
But I suspect these writers probably really did know better, and were just adhering to a standard convention of the time. In truth, American writers typically didn't cover themselves in glory with the way they portrayed speech by, say (say!), African-Americans, Chinese-Americans and Italian-Americans; so I reckon maybe Americans who warn't bothered by that didn't have too much right to complain about how the British did dialect speech. I guess thar was room for considerable improvement all round!