"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor."- Raymond Chandler, from essay the Simple Art of Murder.
This month we feature a selection of classic hard men, detectives, tough guys, PIs, and super spies. Hard-boiled fiction at its finest, full of guns, double-crosses and great dames, from the masters of the genre, Hammett and Chandler.
So why not fit James Bond into this company? The newest film incarnation with Daniel Craig casts him as a thug, a brute killer who wears a Tux nicely. Yet he's got that same sense of honor as the PI's that Chandler admires, that allows him to go from crowded ballrooms to underground lairs. The original books keep things light, fast-paced snappy prose, part adventure novel, part international travelogue-- with places! you! could! go! For the sixties-jet-set.