Cicero

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”

Mickey Spillane: This Time It’s Personal

By Max Allan Collins EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece originally appeared, in a slightly different form, as the introduction to 2001 New American Library edition of The Mike Hammer Collection, which collected I, the Jury, My Gun Is Quick and Vengeance Is Mine. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author, Max Allan … Continue reading Mickey Spillane: This Time It’s Personal

The Donald Strachey Series by Richard Stevenson

An Overview by Sam Phillips    For those of you who haven't read the Donald Strachey series by Richard Stevenson, they are, for my money, some of the funniest, smartest PI novels around. The guy is just a terrific writer! Maybe even brilliant. Death Trick (1981) In the series opener Albany PI Donald Strachey takes … Continue reading The Donald Strachey Series by Richard Stevenson

From Spenser to Yeats: Jane Yeats, That Is

Feminism's Version of the Hard-boiled Sleuth is on the Wagon and Rides a Harley An Essay by Jill Edmondson    Start with one serving of fingertips severed during a rather unfortunate version of Miller time. Blend in a blinding hangover buttressed by a British beer. Add the roar of a Harley drowning out the raspy hacking … Continue reading From Spenser to Yeats: Jane Yeats, That Is

Sex… and Crime Fiction

An Essay by Jill Edmondson "A dirty book is rarely dusty." -- unknown SEX! Now that I have your attention, let's start off with a couple of disconnects. First, the claim that "sex sells." Next is the recognition that in crime fiction readers can find detailed, graphic, visceral descriptions of death and dying, but not … Continue reading Sex… and Crime Fiction

“No Chance in Hell” by Nick Quarry

A Review by August West Marvin H. Albert used his Nick Quarry pseudonym for all six of his Jake Barrow private eye novels. We're not breaking new ground here, but all the novels have hair-trigger action and are excellent. And No Chance in Hell, published in 1960, is one of the best from the series. It starts … Continue reading “No Chance in Hell” by Nick Quarry

“Apologia Pro Vita Sua”

By Rex Stout The following poem, written by Rex Stout, appeared in the August 21, 1935 issue of The New York Times, in conjunction with the then-recent publication of his second Nero Wolfe mystery. At the time, Stout was still relatively unknown, and must have been feeling a little sensitive about being pegged as a mere … Continue reading “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”

Forgotten Hammett: A Long Lost Interview

House Burglary Poor Trade By Helen Herbert Foster Fall-Winter 1929, The Brooklyn Eagle Magazine Of all the men embezzling from their employers with whom I have had contact, I can't remember a dozen who smoked, drank or had any of the vices in which bonding companies are so interested. Nor have I have ever known … Continue reading Forgotten Hammett: A Long Lost Interview

“It’s Not Supposed to Matter”

"The Conversation" Remembered You can't fit The Conversation into any neat, cinematic genre convention. It's a bleak, cynical character study within a psychological thriller. It's also an inside-out twist on the traditional hard-boiled P.I. as Round Table knight. Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is no gumshoe. He's a surveillance expert. A legendary eavesdropper considered tops in … Continue reading “It’s Not Supposed to Matter”