From Library Journal
In the realms of literature and film, the only uniquely original American characters are the Wild West cowboy and the hard-boiled private investigator. Unfortunately, those native sons have received frivolous treatment, having been relegated mainly to B movies and penny dreadfuls. Siegel ( The Casablanca Companion , LJ 5/1/92) contends that the American detective as personified by Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, and a few others is as worthy of respect as Huck Finn or Jay Gatsby. The text, complemented by over 300 illustrations (not seen), cover 150 years' worth of PIs, cops, lawyers, spies, and other assorted snoops and peepers from print, film, and TV whom Siegel believes fit the hard- and soft-boiled profile. Siegel delivers his information in a smart-alecky, I-don't-care-if-you-believe-me tone gumshoe fans will appreciate. Though several heavy-duty literary criticisms on the genre are available, Siegel's thorough and accessible examination helps pull the hard-boiled American detective out of the shadows and into the light. Recommended for public libraries and academic libraries supporting popular culture studies.- Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
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