RARA-AVIS: Re: Non-Fiction About Crime Fiction

From: T. Kent Morgan (tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 20 Oct 2008

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    After the mention of Geoffrey O'Brien's Hardboiled America, I pulled my copy of the expanded edition off the shelf. It includes a checklist for 1929-1960 titled The Hardboiled Era. I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of the experts about the list plus any suggestions as to books that might be missing. I was surprised to see a couple of Brett Halliday's Michael Shayne books and some Ellery Queen on his list plus more "mainstream" authors such as Faulkner, Caldwell, Graham Greene, Hemingway, Kerouac, O'Hara and Gore Vidal. He does say that he has included "into the mix a variety of dissimilar works, naturalistic novels, political novels, spy thrillers, conventional whodunits: all those books that seem to orbit near the undefinable quantity that I have referred to as the hardboiled novel." I love his use of the word "undefinable" which I hope members will remember the next time that debate about the definitions of hardboiled and noir arises on the list.

    Kent Morgan

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