Forgotten Anthology: The Hard-Boiled Detective edited by Herbert Rhum

this is the 239th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Hard-Boiled DetectiveThe Hard-Boiled Detective – Stories from Black Mask Magazine 1920-1951 edited by Herbert Rhum, Vintage Books 1977 mass market paperback, mystery story anthology

It should come as no surprise that an anthology of hard-bolied stories would be sourced from Black Mask Magazine, the pulp monthly published from 1920 to 1951. It’s the pulp that launched many stars of the genre, including Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Erle Stanley Gardner. This 1977 anthology collects thirteen very good stories, some of them reprinted here (though subsequently reprinted, more than once) for the first time since their initial appearance.

Although you may be able to find all of these stories elsewhere, this is a nice little anthology for reading, or re-reading, some great stories. Some of these, such as “Take It and Like It”, “Goldfish” and “The Gutting og Couffignal” are well worth reading – but then the entire book is – again, if it’s been a while. For the reader coming to these for the first time, I envy you.



  • Introduction by Herbert Rhum
  • “The False Burton Combs” by Carroll John Daly
  • “The Road Home” by Peter Collinson (Dashiell Hammett)
  • “The Gutting of Couffignal” by Dashiell Hammett
  • “Kansas City Flash” by Norbert Davis
  • “Take It and Like It” by Frederick Nebel
  • “Goldfish” by Raymond Chandler
  • “Angelfish” by Lester Dent
  • “Leg Man” by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • “Once Around the Clock” by George Harmon Coxe
  • “The Turkey Buzzard Blues” by Merle Constiner
  • “It’s So Peaceful In the Country” by William Brandon
  • “Killer Come Home” by Curt Hamlin
  • “Big-Time Operator” by Paul W. Fairman
  • “Five O’Clock Menace” by Bruno Fisher

That’s a hell of a line up!

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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12 Responses to Forgotten Anthology: The Hard-Boiled Detective edited by Herbert Rhum

  1. I had the same reaction (“That’s a hell of a line-up!”) when I first read this book in the late 1970s. Great stuff!

  2. Loved this book. I hadn’t realized until I read it that Merle Constiner wrote hardboiled detective yarns before he was a Western writer.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    It is indeed a hell of a lineup, and goes with the Shaw and Goulart anthologies as classics of hardboiled mysteries. In fact, I read the three anthologies almost back to back to back in January 1977.

    Great choice.

  4. Barry Ergang says:

    Read this one a long time ago, though I’d read several of the stories in it elsewhere. Nevertheless, a worthwhile addition to any library of classic hardboiled tales.

  5. Jerry House says:

    Great choice! Great stories!

  6. This one is pretty much a “can’t miss”.

  7. tracybham says:

    That selection of stories sounds good and I am not familiar with any of them. I will look around for that book.

  8. RJR says:

    Ruhm came to MWA in NY when the book came out and spoke, and then we went out afterward. A short time later I had him over to my house with some other writers. He drank wine and fell asleep on my couch. But he was an interesting guy, had a history with Evan Hunter back when he was still Sal.

  9. Bob Napier says:

    I also read it a million years ago. Good stuff.

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