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Pulp Fiction Genres > Hardboiled Pulp Fiction

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 introduced us to Sam Spade, the world of detective fiction changed forever.

Don't miss our Film Noir section. Also, our Mystery/Detective section under Old Time Radio.


Murder From The East
by Carroll John Daly

This is an out-and-out fast action thriller by an author whose previous yarns have raised the hair and chilled the spines of even the most blood thirsty mystery fans. Race Williams can shoot circles around any man you ever read about.

Footprints On A Brain
by D. L. Champion


The Quires Matter: A McGowan For Hire Mystery
by Roger Torrey

From the pen of Roger Torrey author of 42 Days for Murder, and mysteries for Black Mask, Private Detective, Detective Story, Dime Detective, and similar magazines comes another hard-boiled tale of mystery and deceit. This detective's assignment was a tough one. They wanted him to find a man in New York without giving him a description, without offering any information! They gave him a name. And that was all.

Hardboiled in Hollywood
by David Wilt

This book covers the film careers of Horace McCoy, Eric Taylor, Dwight V. Babcock, Peter Ruric and John K. Butler. With more than 200 feature film credits, this group of Black Mask writers left their mark on Hollywood. From The Phantom of the Opera to Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, from Big Jim McLain to Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen, the Black Mask contigent applied their pulp writing expertise to the movies. Working for nearly every studio, from the largest--MGM--to the smallest--Monogram--they wrote mysteries, horror films, wartime propaganda, even comedies, but remained faithful to their literary origins.