Booze and the Private Eye: Alcohol in the Hard-Boiled Novel

Booze and the Private Eye: Alcohol in the Hard-Boiled Novel

by Rita Elizabeth Rippetoe


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The hard-bitten PI with a bottle of bourbon in his desk drawer—it's an image as old as the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction itself. Alcohol has long been an important element of detective fiction, but it is no mere prop. Rather, the treatment of alcohol within the works informs and illustrates the detective's moral code, and casts light upon the society's attitudes towards drink.
This examination of the role of alcohol in hard-boiled detective fiction begins with the genre's birth, in an era strongly influenced and affected by prohibition, and follows both the genre's development and its relation to our changing understanding of and attitudes towards alcohol and alcoholism. It discusses the works of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, Robert B. Parker, Lawrence Block, Marcia Muller, Karen Kijewski and Sue Grafton. There are bibliographies of both the primary and critical texts, and an index of authors and works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786418992
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 08/19/2004
Pages: 215
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rita Elizabeth Rippetoe is an independent scholar of genre fiction, with an emphasis on detective fiction. She has written on a variety of subjects, including the works of John le Carré, Dorothy Sayers, and William Faulkner. She lives in Orangevale, California.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 5

Dashiell Hammett: “Behind in Our Drinking” 33

Raymond Chandler: “Alcohol Was No Cure for This” 60

Mickey Spillane: “Can’t Spell Cognac” 86

Robert B. Parker: “This Was No Job for a Poet” 106

Lawrence Block: “A Wide-Awake Drunk” 130

“Groomed to This End for Years”: The Rise of the Woman PI 158

Conclusion 176

Bibliography 189

Primary Sources 189

Critical Sources 191

Index 197

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