The American detective novel of the twentieth century evolved from a popular art form to a complex genre precariously exhibiting qualities of “high seriousness”. Early in the century American crime fiction appeared primarily in pulp magazines such as True Crime or the influential Black Mask, and in cheap paperback editions. By the century's end, handsome reprints of the best of the genre were being published by mainstream presses, while literary scholars, critics and cultural historians mined these texts for nuanced meanings and significance. The Americanization of the detective romance, the “hard-boiled” or “tough guy” evolution, became a given in scholarship devoted to the century's literary history. This …
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Dougherty, David C.. "Ross MacDonald". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 March 2004
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