Re your comment below:
"No, I just meant that James does not write hardboiled or noir literature. The comparison of James with Hammett is certainly not off-topic but the work of James would be. Not that I have any intention of censoring it, but it's not our focus here."
Not hard-boiled, certainly. Dalgliesh is too much the cultured, well-spoken British gentleman for that.
But he's still a professional cop, believable as a professional cop in a way that, for example, Ngaio Marsh's Rory Alleyn or Earl Derr Biggers's Charlie Chan are not. And I think a very good case could be made that her books are noir. The subject matter is usually dark and sinister, and, as often as not, someone the reader cares about gets screwed.
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