Monday, November 09, 2015

The return of pioneering PI Race Williams.

Altus Press has issued Them That Lives by Their Guns: The Collected Hard-Boiled Stories of Race Williams, vol. 1, with an introduction by Clues contributor Brooks Hefner. The creator of Williams, Carroll John Daly, launched the hard-boiled style with such stories as "The False Burton Combs" (1922) and "It's All in the Game" (1923). "Burton Combs" predates Dashiell Hammett's first story for Black Mask by several months.

Perhaps this collection of 16 stories can help refute the jaw-dropping assertion in the BBC Radio 4 program A Coat, a Hat, and a Gun (hosted by Harriett Gilbert, daughter of British mystery author Michael Gilbert) that the hard-boiled "genre was really invented by ... Hemingway with a short story in 1928 called 'The Killers.'" In fact, "The Killers" is a March 1927 Scribner's magazine short story, which appeared several years after Daly's groundbreaking work.


Todd Mason said...

To say nothing of the Hemingway correspondent in crime fiction, Dashiell Hammett, starting to contribute better work to BLACK MASK just after Daly. That was pretty outstanding.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

Yes, nothing like ignoring the Continental Op.