Raymond Chandler, a creator of “hardboiled” detective fiction, wrote: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. ... He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.” Dashiell Hammett, himself a former private detective, had invented this new kind of detective hero. Chandler, an admirer of Hammett, had begun writing detective fiction in a similar vein. Together they became the leading exemplars of this new, “hardboiled” style which would become popular around the world. In the next generation, a Canadian- American writer, Ross Macdonald, a fan of both Hammett and Chandler, would create his own “hardboiled” hero. This study group will read mysteries by writers who pioneered a new, very American genre of detective fiction. The assigned novels will be: The Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon (both Vintage Crime, 1989) by Dashiell Hammett, The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye (both Vintage Crime,1988) by Raymond Chandler and The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald (Vintage Crime, 1996). Join us in reading the kind of compelling “hardboiled” mystery novels which, once begun, are hard to put down.