December 9, 2010

Booze and the Private Eye: Alcohol in the Hard-Boiled Novel

booze_and_private_eye.jpgIf there are two things we're obsessed with around here, they're booze and hard-boiled fiction. That's why we spend most of our days pretending to work, feet up on our desks, smoking cigarettes and making "private eye coffee," which as you know is 3 parts rye whiskey, 2 parts milk and sugar, and 1 part coffee. We haven't read this book, but we plan to.

The hard-bitten PI with a bottle of bourbon in his desk drawer--it's an image as old as the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction itself. Alcohol has long been an important element of detective fiction, but it is no mere prop. Rather, the treatment of alcohol within the works informs and illustrates the detective's moral code, and casts light upon the society's attitudes towards drink.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at December 9, 2010 3:20 AM
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