Hardboiled mysteries were a popular genre of detective fiction in the 1920s and 1930s that typically featured tough, cynical private investigators who were willing to break the law to solve a case. These stories often took place in gritty urban settings and featured morally ambiguous characters.
Some of the most well-known hardboiled mystery writers of the era include Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James M. Cain.
Hammett’s novels, such as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, featured private detectives Sam Spade and Nick Charles, respectively. Chandler’s novels, including The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely, featured private detective Philip Marlowe. Cain’s novels, such as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, often focused on dark, sexual themes.
Other notable hardboiled mystery writers of the era include Cornell Woolrich, James Ellroy, and Mickey Spillane. Hardboiled mysteries continued to be popular throughout the mid-20th century and have had a lasting influence on popular culture.