The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories

by Otto Penzler (Foreword by), Keith Alan Deutsch

Published: September 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pages: 1136
Paperback
ISBN: 9780307455437

       

Overview of The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories

An unstoppable anthology of crime stories culled from Black Mask magazine the legendary publication that turned a pulp phenomenon into literary mainstream. 
 
Black Mask was the apotheosis of noir.  It was the magazine where the first hardboiled detective story, which was written by Carroll John Daly appeared.  It was the slum in which such American literary titans like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got their start, and it was the home of stories with titles like “Murder Is Bad Luck,” “Ten Carets of Lead,” and “Drop Dead Twice.” Collected here is best of the best, the hardest of the hardboiled, and the darkest of the dark of America’s finest crime fiction. This masterpiece collection represents a high watermark of America’s underbelly. Crime writing gets no better than this.
 
Featuring

   • Deadly Diamonds
   • Dancing Rats
   • A Prize Fighter Fighting for His Life
   • A Parrot that Wouldn’t Talk
 
Including 

   • Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon as it was originally published
   • Lester Dent's Luck in print for the first time

Synopsis of The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories

An unstoppable anthology of crime stories culled from Black Mask magazine the legendary publication that turned a pulp phenomenon into literary mainstream. 
 
Black Mask was the apotheosis of noir.  It was the magazine where the first hardboiled detective story, which was written by Carroll John Daly appeared.  It was the slum in which such American literary titans like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got their start, and it was the home of stories with titles like “Murder Is Bad Luck,” “Ten Carets of Lead,” and “Drop Dead Twice.” Collected here is best of the best, the hardest of the hardboiled, and the darkest of the dark of America’s finest crime fiction. This masterpiece collection represents a high watermark of America’s underbelly. Crime writing gets no better than this.
 
Featuring

   • Deadly Diamonds
   • Dancing Rats
   • A Prize Fighter Fighting for His Life
   • A Parrot that Wouldn’t Talk
 
Including 

   • Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon as it was originally published
   • Lester Dent's Luck in print for the first time

Publishers Weekly

Let's put it straight, like a fist in the face: this treasure trove of more than 50 stories and novels offers the best value ever for fans of hard-boiled detective fiction. In the pulp magazine Black Mask (1920-1951), Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler made their bones, with Erle Stanley Gardner and other heavyweights at their heels. As Penzler (Agents of Treachery) notes in his intros to each selection, an amazing number of these writers moved on to movies and TV. Highlights include the complete The Maltese Falcon, the original version from the pulp, unreprinted for 80 years. (Hammett made a couple of thousand changes for the hardcover novel.) The novel Rainbow Diamonds, featuring Raoul Whitfield's Filipino detective Jo Gar, appears in a book for the first time. The iconic story "Sail" by Lester "Doc Savage" Dent shows up in a variant draft, preferred by the author. The only way Penzler can top this one--a bigger book of Black Mask! (Sept.)

About the Author, Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He was publisher of The Armchair Detective, the founder of the Mysterious Press and the Armchair Detective Library, and created the publishing firm Otto Penzler Books. He is a recipient of an Edgar Award for The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection and the Ellery Queen Award by the Mystery Writers of America for his many contributions to the field. He is the editor of The Vampire Archives and The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, which was a New York Times bestseller.

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly

Let's put it straight, like a fist in the face: this treasure trove of more than 50 stories and novels offers the best value ever for fans of hard-boiled detective fiction. In the pulp magazine Black Mask (1920-1951), Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler made their bones, with Erle Stanley Gardner and other heavyweights at their heels. As Penzler (Agents of Treachery) notes in his intros to each selection, an amazing number of these writers moved on to movies and TV. Highlights include the complete The Maltese Falcon, the original version from the pulp, unreprinted for 80 years. (Hammett made a couple of thousand changes for the hardcover novel.) The novel Rainbow Diamonds, featuring Raoul Whitfield's Filipino detective Jo Gar, appears in a book for the first time. The iconic story "Sail" by Lester "Doc Savage" Dent shows up in a variant draft, preferred by the author. The only way Penzler can top this one--a bigger book of Black Mask! (Sept.)

Library Journal

Though this is not the first collection drawn from the pages of yesteryear's Black Mask magazine, Edgar Award-winning mystery editor, publisher, and bookstore owner Penzler declares that "it is the biggest and most comprehensive." He's not kidding! Launched by H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan in the 1920s, Black Mask would springboard the careers of a handful of writers, raising the level of penny dreadful pulp mysteries to that of literature, while also publishing plenty of quickly hacked-out swill. This gathers the cream produced by legends like Dashiell Hammett (the godfather of hard-boiled detective fiction), Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, Carroll John Daly, Cornell Woolrich, and other aces. There are more than 50 stories in all, including "The Maltese Falcon" (the original serialized version, which differs from the published novel, is reproduced here for the first time since its initial 1929 publication), Chandler's "Try the Girl" (which, ultimately, became Farewell, My Lovely), and Horace McCoy's "Dirty Work." Each author receives a brief bio and the stories sport original artwork—it's a complete education on vintage crime mysteries between two covers. VERDICT A hefty hunk of hard-boiled heaven and a noir lover's dream, this will thrill the genre's many fans.—Mike Rogers, Library Journal

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