You say it’s your birthday?

100 Years of the Hard-Boiled American Private Eye (1922) EDITOR’S NOTE: The  following article, in slightly different form, first appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of Mystery Scene (#173), but it makes for a nifty intro to the upcoming panel at Bouchercon 2023 that I’ll be moderating, entitled “You Can’t Kill Me—Why the P.I. Won’t Die." Sadly, … Continue reading You say it’s your birthday?

Crime Fiction… With GUITARS!

Steve Wynn's Riding Shotgun Review by Kevin Burton Smith Okay, Riding Shotgun by singer/songwriter Steve Wynn is NOT a CD loaded with songs about private eyes. That would be too easy. Still, with its pulpy artwork and the name-dropping of every hard-boiled crime writer from Dashiell Hammettto James Ellroy, you don't have to be a great detective … Continue reading Crime Fiction… With GUITARS!

“I Was Filled With a Sense of Loss and Longing.”

Chinatown Remembered By Fred Zackel June 20, 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Chinatown in the USA. It is the finest private eye story that never came from a book first. A clue to any town, any city, any culture, any nation, is the stories it tells about itself, what stories it appropriates … Continue reading “I Was Filled With a Sense of Loss and Longing.”

With Autumn Closing In…

Night Moves Remembered By Daniel Moses Luft "Ain't it funny how the night moves When you just don't seem to have that much to lose? Ain't it funny how the night moves With autumn closing in?" - Bob Seger Arthur Penn’s 1975 film Night Moves is a mostly forgotten work of both pulp and 70s-style, … Continue reading With Autumn Closing In…

Another One Rides the Bus

Thrilling Detective, Jackson Donne & Me By Dave White Back in 1998, I sat in a computer lab on Rutgers University campus, searching for my next read. Yeah, I was an English major, but no, I wasn't searching out novels for my next class. I was looking for private eye fiction to read. I had … Continue reading Another One Rides the Bus

Magnum P.I. (v 2.4)

Dr. Goldberg Delivers His Diagnosis—and it’s Murder March 2023: Watching MAGNUM P.I. this season has been interesting from a story-telling and budget standpoint. I was hoping when the show moved from CBS to NBC, we'd see a creative retooling that abandoned the terrible bifurcated storytelling that I assumed was a side effect of COVID social-distancing … Continue reading Magnum P.I. (v 2.4)

Looking for Robert B. Parker

A Fond Farewell to the Man Who Saved P.I. Fiction By Cameron Hughes I just always assumed that detective novelist Robert B. Parker was immortal, like some kind of literary Highlander. It was actually easy to think so. Writing three books a year, he always seemed to have a new one out or on its … Continue reading Looking for Robert B. Parker

A Drink Before the War: A Review

Review by Christopher Friesen Never judge a book by its cover? I always do. The book is always better than the movie? Not always. On a related front, I would offer this piece of advice: never judge an author by a movie made out of one of his books. Had I gone with my gut … Continue reading A Drink Before the War: A Review


Created by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) In Defense of Sextus Roscius of Ameria (aka "Pro Roscio Amerino") by Marcus Tullius Cicero, aka “Cicero,” written about 80 BC, may just be one of my favourite private eye novels. Yep, it's a speech, not a novel, but young Cicero's first major defense speech reads like a short … Continue reading Cicero

“In Love with Raymond Chandler”

By Margaret Atwood I have no business reprinting this, but "In Love with Raymond Chandler,” Canadian author/poet/lforce of nature Margaret Atwood’s peculiar valentine to Raymond Chandler (furniture?) is just too good to let slip by. It was originally collected in Good Bones (1992), an eclectic grab bag of her parables, monologues, snippets, prose poems, reconfigured fairy tales, recipes and … Continue reading “In Love with Raymond Chandler”