Cracking the Hard-Boiled Detective: A Critical History from the 1920s to the Present
The hard-boiled private detective is among the most recognizable characters in popular fiction since the 1920s--a tough product of a violent world, in which police forces are inadequate and people with money can choose private help when facing threatening circumstances. Though a relatively recent arrival, the hard-boiled detective has undergone steady development and assumed diverse forms. This critical study analyzes the character of the hard-boiled detective, from literary antecedents through the early 21st century. It follows change in the novels through three main periods: the Early (roughly 1927-1955), during which the character was defined by such writers as Carroll John Daly, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; the Transitional, evident by 1964 in the works of John D. MacDonald and Michael Collins, and continuing to around 1977 via Joseph Hansen, Bill Pronzini and others; and the Modern, since the late 1970s, during which such writers as Loren D. Estleman, Liza Cody, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and many others have expanded the genre and the detective character. Themes such as violence, love and sexuality, friendship, space and place, and work are examined throughout the text.
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The Creation of Character
Violence Direction and Control
Work Discourse and Danger
Sexuality and Discovery
Friendship The Absent Theme
The Quality of Change Individual Lives and Social Transformation
Violence Echoes and Conversions
Sexuality and Diversity
Multiples of Change
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a›air a›ects actions Albert Samson Asch Big Sleep boiled detective Bradshaw Brigid character client Conan Doyle conﬂict Continental Op Daly’s Dashiell Hammett’s death Deep Blue Good-by deﬁne detective’s di›erent di‡culties Dupin e›ect early hard-boiled detective Early Period emotional father female ﬁction ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁrst friendship genre genre’s Hammett’s Continental hard-boiled detective novel hard-boiled private detective Holmes inﬂuence Jacovich John kill Kinsey Millhone Lew Archer lives lover Macdonald’s Lew Archer MacDonald’s Travis McGee Maltese Falcon Marlowe’s Matthew Scudder Michael Shayne Mickey Spillane’s Millhone modern hard-boiled detective Modern Period moral murder o›er o‡ce Parker’s Spenser past Philip Marlowe Poe’s police Private Eye private investigator Race Williams Rawlins Raymond Chandler’s Red Harvest reﬂects relationship Sam Spade sense sexual Sharman signiﬁcant Sixsmith social someone Spade Spillane’s Mike Hammer Stephen Dobyns Sternwood su›ers tive Transitional Period Travis McGee V.I. Warshawski violence Warshawski women writers York