Archives: Hardboiled Monday

Hardboiled Monday: The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories

mammoth book private eyeWhen Chris Hocking and I set out to talk hardboiled fiction every Monday it turned out we (or maybe it was just me) were a little too ambitious. It was hard to keep up the steam, and to keep reading NOTHING but hardboiled for months and months. But we’re returning to discuss great hardboiled fiction as an occasional feature of this web site.

Originally we were discussing all books from this list in order. From here on out we’ll be skipping around. We’ll be trying to cover one subject a month, and I’ll also be trying to provide advanced notice. If you want to see our previous hardboiled discussions, you can access the master list here. Today we’re discussing the well-named Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories.

Hard-Boiled Monday Returns

mammoth book private eyeSort of an ironic thing to post on a Friday, isn’t it?

I’ve had numerous requests for the return of the ongoing column, and I’ve spoken with Chris Hocking, my Hard Boiled Monday pal, and we’ll be getting back to it in a little while. I’ve given up trying to read stories in the order of the original list, though, and it may not be EVERY Monday. I’ll get a schedule up in a little while.

For now, I wanted to tell anyone who wanted to read along that the first book we’ll be discussing is an exceptionally fine anthology titled The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories. It’s considered a landmark volume and now that I’m most of the way through it I definitely see why. Arr, there be great fiction in here, matey’s! Said the pirate…. Who apparently reads hard boiled detective novels. Who are you to stereotype?!

Anyway, not this coming Monday, but Monday May 8th I hope to start discussing the very best out of this greatest hits anthology. If you like (or at least are curious about) private eye stories, this is an excellent place to go. If you’re looking for a copy, try here for paperbacks, or go to the other usual places. For once, copies seem plentiful, though I have no idea why. I can’t imagine why someone would want to part with this volume, because I definitely plan on reading from it again. It’s a great introduction to the work authors I’ve already started exploring.

Strange Juxtapositions

nicklebyUpon reflection I find that I’ve been poised between the old and the new a lot in the last few days. For instance, while a passenger on the way to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, I was reading Nicholas Nickleby. Immediately after finishing Nicholas Nickleby I started reading some hard boiled detective short stories from several omnibuses I’ve acquired.

And, of course, I just finished the rough draft of one novel and am getting ready to start work on the slightly less new one I finished a draft of a few months back.

Maybe I could find this kind of old and new parallel every week if I tried, but it struck me as curious. I mean, I guess any Dickens is pretty old, but not as old as the Reniassance, and that the short stories I was reading were at least 50 years old, but not as old as Nicholas Nickelby, so maybe the problem is I’m reading nothing new.

Hardboiled Monday: Fast One

fastoneAs with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here.

I remain disappointed that there was so little interest voiced about the Howard Browne book from last week. As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of the finest books on the entire list, but I think we got more FB Likes and comments on that silly Spam Haiku post on Wednesday. If you somehow missed our discussion on The Taste of Ashes, take a look. And if you like this stuff, by God, order a copy of the complete Paul Pine detective stories from Stephen Haffner. Just trust me on this one.

Today we’re looking at Fast One, by Paul Cain.