Matt Scudder

Created by Lawrence Block (1938--) Loads of fictional private eyes drink oceans of booze. Some become invincible, some become silly, some become virtual Einsteins of deduction. MATT SCUDDER had no such luck. He drank and became an alcoholic. He used to be one of New York's Finest, a decent-enough detective, honest enough to get by, … Continue reading Matt Scudder

And while we’re at it, what the hell is “Noir”?

Originally noir, at least in English, meant film, but now it's used to describe everything from literature to music. And perfume. And lingerie. And coffee beans. And breath mints. And lawnmowers, probably. And everyone seems to have a slightly different definition of it. But once upon a time, it meant something. The formal definition is something … Continue reading And while we’re at it, what the hell is “Noir”?

Jake Dekker

Created by Stanley Ellin Stanley Ellin seems to have cornered the market on cold, calculating and thoroughly professional private detectives serving the rich and powerful of New York, although for while there it seemed Lawrence Sanders was intent on horning in on the action. JAKE DEKKER is a freelance insurance investigator who lives high on … Continue reading Jake Dekker

Duncan Maclain

Created by Baynard H. KendrickPseudonyms include Richard Hayward(1894-1977) Blinded in World War I, wealthy, dashing CAPTAIN DUNCAN MACLAIN moves to New York and sets up a detective agency, aided by his partner, Spud Savage (is that a great name or what?) and his secretary (and Spud's wife) Rena. Rounding out the staff are Duncan's two specially-trained German … Continue reading Duncan Maclain

David Thompson’s Suspects

Characters from Crime and Noir Films  in David Thomson's Suspects "Film noir...meant the most to me..." -- David Thomson, in a new introduction In his 1985 audacious, brain-warping, acid trip of a novel, Suspects, which The Village Voice tagged as a "a dazzling work of narrative invention," eminent film critic and well-known movie geek David … Continue reading David Thompson’s Suspects

Murder in the Library: Film (and Film Noir)

What? You thought I made this all up, or downloaded it all from Wikipedia? Nope. Here are the books that inspired me to create this site, and the books I've used to cobble it together over the years, as well as the ones I've discovered along the way, broken down into various categories. If you … Continue reading Murder in the Library: Film (and Film Noir)

Coffin Ed Johnson & Grave Digger Jones

Created by Chester Himes (1908-84) "We just get pissed-off with all the red tape...We just want to get down to the nitty-gritty." - Grave Digger in Blind Man With a Pistol "I don't want no niggers on this lot." -- Jack Warner's alleged outburst, before firing Himes One of the true masters of the genre, … Continue reading Coffin Ed Johnson & Grave Digger Jones

Brad Runyon

Created by Dashiell Hammett "He's walking into that drugstore... he's stepping onto the scales... (SNICK! CLICK!) Weight: 237 pounds... Fortune.... Danger! Whoooo is it? The...Fat Man!" -- the intro to the radio show That's BRAD RUNYON, the star of the old time radio series The Fat Man (1946-51, ABC), as played to perfection by the subterranean … Continue reading Brad Runyon

The Cheaper the Crook

The Crime Films of Elisha Cook, Jr. "... noir's most valuable supporting player." -- Jake Hinkson in Noir Goon Squad "I played rats, pimps, informers, hopheads and communists... I didn't have the privilege of reading scripts. Guys called me up and said, 'You're going to work tomorrow.' " -- Cook recalls the life of a … Continue reading The Cheaper the Crook

B.T. Brady

Created by Barbara Avedon, Barbara Corday, Barney Rozenweig, Terry Louise Fisher, Steve Brown, Clifford Hoelscher and Jean Hoelscher "Just like in a Dick Powell movie, a gigantic black hole opened up at my feet and I dived right in..." -- B.T. Brady, in voiceover How many people does it take to write one of these things, anyway? In … Continue reading B.T. Brady