Re: RARA-AVIS: WHO created the hard-boiled story?

From: George Upper (
Date: 11 Jun 2001

--- Duane Spurlock <> wrote:

> "Sometimes I think America's most enduring
> contribution to literature is the
> hard-boiled detective story. Created by Raymond
> Chandler...are we being addressed by another
> ill-informed reviewer?

Yes, we are. Although I agree with the first statement, obviously Hammett was writing years before Chandler. We've recently had this discussion on here, but my own vote for the creator of the HB private detective sub-genre, at least, goes to Carroll John Daly.

Whether or not he invented the HB genre itself is a little more debatable and depends, in part, on how you want to define HB. I myself often find it extremely difficult to draw the line between actual HB fiction and "close but no cigar." Like any such catagorization, it is the invention of readers and critics, not authors, and it is largely artificial, with a great deal of overlap between genres. It's useful for writing a syllabus, for example, or deciding what authors to include in an anthology. But it can cause as many problems as it solves, or attempts to solve.

Sorry--someone apparently slipped a soapbox under my feet when I wasn't looking.


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