Thursday, July 12, 2012

H: Hard-boiled

Make Mine a Mystery: Reader's Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction by Gary Warren Niebuhr (2003) defines a hard-boiled novel this way:
"In a hard-boiled novel the action is high on the description of violence, with sexual content and language of the streets. A hard-boiled world is a society where everything is suspect, including established institutions and the people who work for them--even the legal forces. The inclusion of a mystery in a hard-boiled world is inevitable. Most violent action takes place on-stage. The emphasis is on the perpetration of the crime, and characters are often driven to do what they do by circumstances that are often out of their control. Hard-boiled novels can feature protagonists who are not clearly defined as being on either the right of wrong side of the law. The administration of justice is not certain in a hard-boiled novel, and morality may have many definitions in a hard-boiled world"
Hard-boiled isn't a genre I have read a lot in, and separating it from "noir" was the topic of a recent discussion in the Crime Read-Along which I found quite interesting. I just finished The Maltese Falcon which is a classic hard-boiled crime story.

This post is part of the Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 at Mysteries in Paradise.  

1 comment:

  1. The Maltese Falcon is a classic book so you're certainly starting in the right place! Have you read any Raymond Chandler or Ross Macdonald? Together, with Hammett, they form the 'holy trinity' of the traditional hardboiled school (which is to say that they are also all whodunits rather than thrillers) and they certainly sired a great many literary heirs.



Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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