Connecting Detectives

The Influence of 19th Century Sleuth Fiction on the Early Hard-Boileds


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About the Book

A literary examination of the influence of 19th century sleuths on the early hard-boiled investigators, this book explores the importance of works by Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the development of detective series by Carroll John Daly, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Brett Halliday, Mickey Spillane, Thomas B. Dewey, John D. MacDonald, Ross Macdonald, Richard S. Prather and William Campbell Gault. Authors from the transitional (1964–1977) and modern periods (1979 to the present) are also discussed to show the ongoing influence of the 19th century detective writers.

About the Author(s)

Lewis D. Moore, a retired professor of English, taught at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington for thirty years. He is also the author of Meditations on America: John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee Series and Other Fiction (1994).

Bibliographic Details

Lewis D. Moore
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7771-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1899-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I: Plot and Setting
1. Frontiers and Boundaries 7
2. Morality and Immorality: Interconnections in the Detective Narrative 16
3. Punishment and Its Effects 24
4. Past Secrets and Present Solutions 34
Part II: Character and Reason
5. Surviving Power: Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” and the ­Hard-Boiled Detective 45
6. Private and Public Detectives 57
7. Decision and Control 67
8. Foreigners and Foreign Places 74
Part III: Theme
9. Undoing the Ties That Bind: Family from Poe to the ­Hard-Boiled Detective 83
10. Variations on a Theme: Individualism and the Detective 92
11. Politics and the Detective 102
12. Money and Motive 111
13. The Paradox of Change 121
Part IV: Form and Figurative Language
14. Traditional Mixes: Form and Character 128
15. Gothic, Melodrama and Realism 141
16. Allusion and Allegory 149
17. Sound and Silence 158
18. Permanence and Impermanence 169
Conclusion: Dominant Images: Poe, Conan Doyle, Hammett and Chandler 179
Works Cited 189
Index 195

Book Reviews & Awards

“an informative publication which opens ‘old capers,’ so to speak, when it comes to motives and other important features of detective and hard-boiled fiction”—