Detective Fiction > Hardboiled Detective

Started in the 1920s and perfected in the 1930s, the hard boiled detective was one of the most popular forms to arise from the pulp fiction magazines.

The hard boiled detective was a character who had to live on the mean streets of the city where fighting, drinking, swearing, poverty and death were all part of life. This new type of detective had to balance the day to day needs of survival against the desire to uphold the law and assist justice. Living in the toughest of environments, and required to be tougher than the evil surrounding him, our new heroes had to become "hard boiled".

In this new world, the hard boiled detective began to administer a new form of justice where if need be, he himself would cross the line and break the law, to insure that justice was done. Our hero was thrust into a world where he had to choose between different levels of evil and no one was truely on the side of good. His survival often depended upon a shoot first, ask questions later approach where the ability to reason out a murder is less important than the ability to fight one's way out of a jam.

This ushered in a new era of action packed detective stories where the murder no longer took place off stage and instead took place all around our hero on an ongoing basis. In some respects, the hard boiled detective was in response to the rising crime and gangster activety caused by Prohibition and then the Great Depression. But once Carroll John Daly introduced us to Race Williams, and Dashiell Hammett brought us to Sam Spade, the world of detective fiction changed forever.

Featured Titles

    The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Sam Spade, a slightly shop-worn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, stars in Hammett's detective fiction, a novel that has haunted several generations of readers. The Maltese Falcon is Hammett's most famous work.

Year: 1930
Genre: Hardboiled DetectiveStolen Goods

    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler's first novel, published in 1939, introduces us to Philip Marlowe, a thirty-eight-old private detective moving through the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s. The case involves a paralyzed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail, and murder.

Year: 1939
Genre: ExtortionHardboiled DetectiveMysteryPrivate Eye

    I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane

The first novel in Mickey Spillane's classic detective series starring hard-boiled private eye Mike Hammer. Here's Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer in their roughest and readiest—a double-strength shot of sex, violence, and action that is vintage Spillane all the way. It's a tough-guy mystery to please even the most bloodthirsty of fans!

Year: 1947
Genre: Hardboiled DetectiveVengeance

 

 

Titles

YearTitle

The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Volume 1 by Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
The Complete Cases of Vee Brown, Volume 2 by Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
The Snarl of the Beast by Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective, Race Williams
1929Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett Action, Hardboiled Detective, Continental Op
1929The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Continental Op
1930The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Stolen Goods, San Francisco
1931The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective
1933The Complete Cases of the Reckoner by Carroll John Daly Hardboiled Detective
1934The Complete Cases of Peter Kane by Hugh B. Cave Hardboiled Detective, Pulp Fiction
1939The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler Extortion, Hardboiled Detective, Mystery, Private Eye, Philip Marlowe
1939The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner Hardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam
1939Trouble Is My Business by Raymond Chandler Hardboiled Detective, Philip Marlowe, Short Stories
1940Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler Hardboiled Detective, Philip Marlowe
1940Turn on the Heat by Erle Stanley Gardner Hardboiled Detective, Missing Person, Cool & Lam
1942The High Window by Raymond Chandler Extortion, Hardboiled Detective, Philip Marlowe
1943The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler Hardboiled Detective, Missing Person, Philip Marlowe
1947I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Vengeance, Mike Hammer
1950My Gun Is Quick by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
1950Vengeance is Mine! by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
1951One Lonely Night by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
1951The Big Kill by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
1952Top of the Heap by Erle Stanley Gardner Hardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam
1953The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler Hardboiled Detective, Philip Marlowe
1961Shills Can't Cash Chips by Erle Stanley Gardner Hardboiled Detective, Cool & Lam
1966The Big Knockover by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Continental Op, Short Stories
1974The Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Continental Op, Short Stories
1989Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler Hardboiled Detective, Philip Marlowe
1999Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem Hardboiled Detective, Conspiracy, Defective Detective
2000Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Short Stories
2001Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 1 by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
2001Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 2 by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
2001Mike Hammer Collection: Volume 3 by Mickey Spillane Hardboiled Detective, Mike Hammer
2005The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard Hardboiled Detective, Carl Webster
2009The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay Hardboiled Detective, Noir Fiction, Defective Detective, Mark Genevich, Boston
2017The Big Book of the Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett Hardboiled Detective, Continental Op
2021A Gambling Man by David Baldacci Crime Fiction, Hardboiled Detective, Mystery, Aloysius Archer, Hollywood, Reno