Who’s on First?

The First Hard-Boiled Private Eye Story

“Firsts” are the sort of game literary historians, scholars and bookgeeks love to play, giving them a chance to strut their stuff, loudly and proudly offering up the most blurry of distinctions and the most wishy-washy of definitions, turning hair-splittery into a fine art — and occasionally a contact sport.

So what was the first hard-boiled private eye story, then?

That seems to depend on how you define “first,” “hard-boiled” “private eye” and possibly “story.”

But I digress. Here are the usual suspects, gathered for your convenience.

Let the hair-splittery commence…


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Comments and suggestions welcome.

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