October 19, 2016
The Black Mask Magazine (or, how Detective fiction grew up)
In this and the next few articles, I will attempt to describe the fork in the road which split detective fiction into the cozies and the hardboiled genres in the 1920’s; and specifically focus on the hardboiled genre and a few of its leading lights.
Detective fiction started as a genre in the mid-1800s, with Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and other adventures of the detective C. August Dupin. Some exceptional novels and short stories followed, most notably those of Wilkie Collins and Émile Gaboriau. The last years of the 1800s saw the arrival of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Age of detective fiction. Mostly, these mysteries eschewed too much of blood-and-gore, and were neither committed, nor solved by the common man. All that would change with the advent of the hardboiled detective and the Black mask magazine.