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Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories

Overview

What are the ingredients of a hard-boiled detective story? "Savagery, style, sophistication, sleuthing and sex," said Ellery Queen. Often a desperate blond, a jealous husband, and, of course, a tough-but-tender P.I. the likes of Sam Spade or Philop Marlowe. Perhaps Raymond Chandler summed it up best in his description of Dashiell Hammett's style: "Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it....He put these people down on paper as they were, and he made them talk and think in the language they ...

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Overview

What are the ingredients of a hard-boiled detective story? "Savagery, style, sophistication, sleuthing and sex," said Ellery Queen. Often a desperate blond, a jealous husband, and, of course, a tough-but-tender P.I. the likes of Sam Spade or Philop Marlowe. Perhaps Raymond Chandler summed it up best in his description of Dashiell Hammett's style: "Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it....He put these people down on paper as they were, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used for these purposes."

Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories is the largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind, with over half of the stories never published before in book form. Included are thirty-six sublimely suspenseful stories that chronicle the evolutiuon of this quintessentially American art form, from its earliest beginnings during the Golden Age of the legendary pulp magazine Black Mask in the 1920s, to the arrival of the tough digest Manhunt in the 1950s, and finally leading up to present-day hard-boiled stories by such writers as James Ellroy. Here are eight decades worth of the best writing about betrayal, murder, and mayhem: from Hammett's 1925 tour de force "The Scorched Face," in which the disappearance of two sisters leads Hammett's never-named detective, the Continental Op, straight into a web of sexual blackmail amidst the West Coast elite, to Ed Gorman's 1992 "The Long Silence After," a gripping and powerful rendezvous involving a middle class insurance executive, a Chicago streetwalker, and a loaded .38. Other delectable contributions include "Brush Fire" by James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Raymond Chandler's "I'll Be Waiting," where, for once, the femme fatale is not blond but a redhead, a Ross Macdonald mystery starring Macdonald's most famous creation, the cryptic Lew Archer, and "The Screen Test of Mike Hammer" by the one and only Micky Spillane. The hard-boiled cult has more in common with the legendary lawmen of the Wild West than with the gentleman and lady sleuths of traditional drawing room mysteries, and this direct line of descent is on brilliant display in two of the most subtle and tautly written stories in the collection, Elmore Leonard's "3:10 to Yuma" and John D. MacDonald's "Nor Iron Bars." Other contributors include Evan Hunter (better known as Ed McBain), Jim Thompson, Helen Nielsen, Margaret Maron, Andrew Vachss, Faye Kellerman, and Lawrence Block.

Compellingly and compulsively readable, Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories is a page-turner no mystery lover will want to be without. Containing many notable rarities, it celebrates a genre that has profoundly shaped not only American literature and film, but how we see our heroes and oursleves.

The largest and most comprehensive collection of its kind, with over half of the stories never published before in book form. Included are 36 sublimely suspenseful stories that chronicle the evolution of this quintessential American art form--70 years of detective fiction collected in a page-turner no mystery lover will want to miss.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Editors Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian clearly know their stuff."—Newsweek

"The best-balanced, best-edited selection available today. No matter how long your shelf of hard-boiled anthologies, you'll want this one."—Kirkus Reviews

"Pronzini and Adrian have compiled a superb anthology of gritty crime fiction."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Prolific anthologist and mystery writer Pronzini (the Nameless Detective series) and Adrian (Detective Stories for the Strand) have compiled a superb anthology of gritty crime fiction. Grouped by decade, from the 1920s to the '90s, the stories sample some of the best crime writers, many of whom cut their teeth on pulp, including Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, Mickey Spillane, James M. Cain, Elmore Leonard, Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain), James Ellroy, Andrew Vachss and Lawrence Block. Some of the older tales, like Hammett's plot-heavy, trick-ending ``The Scorched Face,'' haven't aged well. Others, like Macdonald's ``Guilt-Edged Blonde,'' a Lew Archer story, and Leonard's ``3:10 to Yuma,'' a taut tale of a marshal escorting a convicted robber to prison, still impress in this account of the evolution of an American popular art form. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195103533
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 1,017,702
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.25 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Pronzini is a well-known mystery and suspense writer of over forty novels, and is best known as the creator of the "Nameless Detective" series. He served as the first president of the Private Eye Writers of America, and won that organization's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. Jack Adrian is an authority on popular and genre fiction in the twentieth century, and is the author of many books, and editor and co-editor of numerous anthologies, including Crime at Christmas, The Art of the Impossible, and The Oxford Book of Historical Stories.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
The Scorched Face 20
Round Trip 55
Mistral 65
Backwash 83
Trouble-Chaser 109
Fruit Tramp 128
Brush Fire 141
Human Interest Stuff 150
Waiting for Rusty 163
I'll Be Waiting 168
Marijuana and a Pistol 185
Who Said I Was Dead? 189
Nor Iron Bars 224
Dock Walloper 230
Three-Ten to Yuma 257
The Bobby-Soxer 272
Black Pudding 277
Guilt-Edged Blonde 301
Mama's Boy 316
The Screen Test of Mike Hammer 335
Home 340
So Pale, So Cold, So Fair 348
A Piece of Ground 377
The Merry, Merry Christmas 388
Forever After 396
The Old Pro 405
The Saturday Night Deaths 418
Graveyard Shift 429
Deadhead Coming Down 433
To Florida 438
It's a Hard World 455
Junior Jackson's Parable 460
Bonding 474
Gravy Train 488
Batman's Helpers 503
The Long Silence After 518
Credits 527
Name Index 531
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