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Raymond Chandler
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March 13 2015

The Mongolian Conspiracy by Rafael Bernal

It’s 1968, the height of the Cold War, and we are in Mexico City. Filiberto Garcia is a sixty year old Mexican policeman. Over the course of his life he has killed people: men, women, a priest....
December 20 2014

Back to the Beginning: The Bounty Hunters by Elmore Leonard

From the early 1970s until 1992’s Unforgiven, Westerns had become outmoded, pitiful television productions and lame B-films that had run the genre into the dust heap, and unless Clint Eastwood...
October 16 2014

The Historical Villain: A Whodunnit in One Dimension

The golden age of the fictional villain—twirling his moustache, laughing Frenchly, tying women to train tracks—was the 19th century. In that innocent age, you could actually spook readers...
October 8 2014

Hardboiled Hemingway (With Noir Chasers)

Ernest Hemingway is one of the biggest names of 20th century literature. He won the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, and his star seems in no danger of burning out even with tastes...
September 25 2014

Bacall By Herself

In our series on Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, we looked at the films the great screen duo made between 1944 and 1948. After 1948, however, the two never made another movie together. (Though...
September 18 2014

Get Carter by Ted Lewis: Crime Fiction’s Open Source Blueprint

I’ll get right to the point here; Ted Lewis’s 1970 novel Jack’s Return Home (re-titled Get Carter so I’ll call it that from here on) is one of the most influential works of crime...
September 17 2014

The Noir Geek’s Guide to The Big Lebowski

The Coen Brother’s 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski has many cultural touchstones—the sixties, hippies, Vietnam, CCR, weed, Busby Berkley musicals—but the underlying structure of...
September 10 2014

Bogie and Bacall: The Big Sleep (1946)

In tribute to the late Lauren Bacall, we’re looking at the four classic films she made with husband and screen partner Humphrey Bogart between 1944 and 1948: To Have and Have Not, The Big...
September 7 2014

Ray Bradbury Writes Noir: Death Is a Lonely Business

I suspect most people think of science fiction and fantasy when they hear the name Ray Bradbury, who—along with Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke—represented...
August 3 2014

The Movies of 1944: Murder, My Sweet

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of film noir’s landmark year, we’re looking at the six key noirs of 1944: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, When Strangers Marry,...
July 23 2014

The Movies of 1944: Double Indemnity

This year film noir turns 70. While there had been some intermittent films leading up to the birth of the classic noir, in 1944 the dahlia bloomed with six key films: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder...
June 10 2014

Slate Nailed It: YA and Detective Fiction Are for Rubes

An article in Slate by Ruth Graham that appeared last week decrying the popularity of YA fiction among adult readers has created quite the backlash from other media forums (including to name a few,...
May 16 2014

Adventures In Screenwriting: The Amazing Leigh Brackett

Pop quiz: What do The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, El Dorado, The Long Goodbye, and The Empire Strikes Back have in common? Answer: They were all written or co-written by the same woman, the amazing...
May 11 2014

Pulp Nonfiction: A Guide to Studying Hardboiled Crime

You know you’re officially a mystery fanatic when you start reading books about books. Luckily, over the years many studies of hardboiled and noir crime fiction have been published to meet...
March 24 2014

Twin Peaks Rewatch: Episode 7: Realization Time

Let us now praise Audrey Horne. When we were first introduced to the pretty high school senior played by Sherilyn Fenn, she seemed to be perfectly in sync with the weirdness of her town: disengaged,...
November 27 2013

Reconsidering Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973)

I think Altman's rendition of The Long Goodbye gets a bad rap. Fans of Raymond Chandler's poetic novels and Bogart's iconic portrayal find Elliot Gould as a smart-ass, sleepy “Rip...
September 11 2013

Double Indemnity: Flashing Back to a Singular Standard

It’s a good thing Double Indemnity, Billy Wilder’s classic noir of desire–for lust, money and revenge–was made in 1944, because it wouldn’t get made today. Not because...
May 14 2013

Fresh Meat: Cuts Through Bone by Alaric Hunt

Cuts Through Bone by Alaric Hunt is a contemporary PI novel in the classic PI novel style (available May 14, 2013). Alaric Hunt’s Cuts Through Bone is a PI mystery with the style and tone...
May 2 2013

From the Marx Brothers to Philip Marlowe

Humor is the weapon of the powerless. Being the child of intellectual Jews gave me many advantages as a kid (bagels, Woody Allen movies, skepticism of political power), but when we moved to suburban...
April 11 2013

Dashiell Hammett: One of the Most Influential American Writers of His Time

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in Maryland in 1894. In his early teens, he left school and worked at various jobs. Finally at age twenty-one he took a job as an operative with the Pinkerton Detective...
April 10 2013

Fresh Meat: Follow Her Home by Steph Cha

Follow Her Home by Steph Cha is a debut novel in which a young amateur sleuth finds that the streets of L.A. haven’t changed much since her hero Philip Marlowe was walking them (available April...
April 3 2013

Lost Classics of Noir: Hill Girl by Charles Williams

Brothers shouldn’t get involved with the same woman. There could be a whole subgenre or books/movies in which this scenario is involved, and I feel confident stating that tragedy would be a common...
March 13 2013

The Godmother of Noir: Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

If you trace the roots of literary noir back far enough, eventually you’ll run into the unlikely figure of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. Though in recent years she has been overlooked in the rush...
February 14 2013

Noir’s Goon Squad: Dorothy Malone

The one scene that every film noir fan remembers Dorothy Malone for is her brief appearance in Howard Hawks’s 1946 adaptation of The Big Sleep. Private eye Philip Marlowe is investigating a phony...
February 6 2013

Noir’s Hard Luck Ladies: Martha Vickers

If you spend enough time in the shadow gallery that is film noir certain faces start to haunt you. I’m not talking here about the icons like Mitchum or Grahame or Bennett or Andrews—their...
December 2 2012

Ted Lewis: Noir Maverick

Lots of people know about the landmark 1971 British gangland film Get Carter (and if you’re a crime fiction/film enthusiast who doesn’t: stop here, go watch it, then come back and read this...
November 15 2012

Lost and Found: Reader Fascination with Recovering “Lost” Novels

From the promise of discovering a dusty Van Gogh in the attic, to coming across fabled recordings by Robert Johnson, we love to discover something once thought lost forever. For book lovers the...
November 11 2012

Noir in Film: 5 Great Films Adapted from Noir Classics

Raymond Chandler is considered one of the fathers of noir for good reason. His wonderful creation, Philip Marlowe, is one of the most popular detectives in crime fiction, and all of his books were adapted...
November 6 2012

John D. MacDonald: Full-Color Noir

Wikipedia lists John D. MacDonald as a prolific writer. Ya think? Seventy-eight books with more than 75 million copies in print, plus nearly 500 short stories? That’s not prolific, that’s...
October 12 2012

’Toon Noir: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit? twice in the theater. This was 1988 and I was eight years old. Seeing a movie twice in the theater was unprecedented. It came about as a fluke of chance. My parents had...