I bought this book about a year and a half ago at Downtown Books in Milwaukee for $3.95. I don’t know why I was looking for an almost scholarly survey of private eye fiction, but I bought it.
As I mentioned, this book surveys the evolution of the private eye character within American fiction from its origin in the pulps through the middle 1980s (when the book was published). It identifies certain eras (early pulps, post WWII detectives, sixties touchy-feely detectives, and modern detectives) and then identifies certain seminal authors and their most famous or influential creations. The book includes Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, Ross MacDonald, Brett Halliday, Mickey Spillane, and Richard S. Prather among the obvious. I’ve read books from each of these and probably work from among the others in the list. Oddly enough, these sorts of summary books not only inspire me to read more of these authors, but also to write more so I can hopefully get included in some of these volumes in the future. If I’m lucky.
(As for inside baseball, Roger L. Simon is only mentioned in this book when the author notes that a character is not as Jewish as Moses Wine. Simon and Wine do, however, make up a large portion of Sons of Sam Spade: The Private-Eye Novel in the 70s, which I read in college when I should have been attending Biology 001.)