The History of the Hard-Boiled Detective

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There are many sub-genres of detective fiction and hard-boiled fiction is one of them. What exactly is hard-boiled detective fiction? Hard-Boiled detective fiction is fiction that features tough, cynical, urban private eyes who expose corruption and frequently get injured in the course of their investigations ("Detective Fiction," Literary).

Hard-Boiled fiction is considered one of the more popular sub-genres of detective fiction; there have been numerous films and novels about urban detectives exposing corruption in the police force and in politics. The author credited with inventing the first successful hard-boiled story is Carroll John Daly. His character, Terry Mack, was quick to fight, was quick to shoot and he made plenty of wise-cracks (Marling). This character is what defined hard-boiled detective fiction and is the prototype for thousands of other detectives. To really understand what sets hard-boiled fiction apart from other type of detective fiction you need to know about the history of detective fiction up to when hard-boiled fiction was invented.

Characters that use logical reasoning and notice "clues" have been appearing in literature since the 6th century BC. The first appearance of a detective like character was the fox in Aesop's fables. In one story the fox decided not to enter a hungry lion's cave when he saw that there were many animal footprints going into the cave but none coming out ("Detective Fiction," Literary). Another ancient detective was Daniel from the Bible. In one of the stories Daniel exposes a religious fraud by tracking the culprits' footprints ("Detective Fiction," Literary). In a different story Daniel uncovers a conspiracy by questioning two witnesses separately to reveal contradictions in their evidence ("Detective Fiction," Literary).

The actual invention of detective fiction did not occur until 1841 when Edgar Allen Poe wrote The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In this novel Poe introduced Auguste Dupin, who was the...
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