Richard Eder reviews books for various publications. (March 2005)

The Conscientious Op

Tough-talking, with the dregs of a virtuous heart curdled by the world’s bleak crookedness, the hard-boiled private eye emerged in the 1920s in an obscure magazine, The Black Mask. At the end of the decade and on through the Thirties and Forties he came to glory with Dashiell Hammett and …