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The Complete Casebook of Cardigan, Volume 1: 1931-32 Paperback – 26 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Altus Press (26 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1618270117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618270115
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,013,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Stolk TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback
Although now all but forgotten, in his days writing for the pulps Frederick Nebel (1903-1967) was as popular and well respected as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Nebel created private-eye Cardigan for the pulp magazine Dime Detective, which was second only to the famous Black Mask Magazine in the cultivation of the hard-boiled detective genre and Jack Cardigan, the two-fisted op from Cosmos Detective Agency, was one of the main reasons behind its success.

Volume 1 of "The Complete Casebook of Cardigan" features an introduction by Will Murray and 11 stories from the period 1931-1932 with the original illustrations by John Fleming Gould. The stories are: Death Alley (November, 1931), Hell's Pay Check (December, 1931), Six Diamonds and a Dick (January, 1932), And There Was Murder (February, 1932), Phantom Fingers (March, 1932), Murder on the Loose (April, 1932), Rogues' Ransom (August, 1932), Lead Pearls (September, 1932), The Dead Don't Die (October, 1932), The Candy Killer (November, 1932), and A Truck-Load of Diamonds (December, 1932).

Cardigan is a private eye stamped from the same mold as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, those icons of hard-boiled fiction created by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler: a laconic, wise-cracking gumshoe with a fondness for booze and dames in trouble, as quick with his fists as his gun, and a tendency to stumble over corpses and have a run-in with the law.

As I've read these volumes a bit in reverse order (volumes 2, 3 and 4 are available in e-book version, while no. 1 is not, so this one is actually the last one I bought and read) it's fun to see how Nebel developed Cardigan in the course of the series.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Filled to the brim with slam-bang action. 11 Jan 2014
By D. C. Stolk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although now all but forgotten, in his days writing for the pulps Frederick Nebel (1903-1967) was as popular and well respected as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Nebel created private-eye Cardigan for the pulp magazine Dime Detective, which was second only to the famous Black Mask Magazine in the cultivation of the hard-boiled detective genre and Jack Cardigan, the two-fisted op from Cosmos Detective Agency, was one of the main reasons behind its success.

Volume 1 of “The Complete Casebook of Cardigan” features an introduction by Will Murray and 11 stories from the period 1931-1932 with the original illustrations by John Fleming Gould. The stories are: Death Alley (November, 1931), Hell's Pay Check (December, 1931), Six Diamonds and a Dick (January, 1932), And There Was Murder (February, 1932), Phantom Fingers (March, 1932), Murder on the Loose (April, 1932), Rogues' Ransom (August, 1932), Lead Pearls (September, 1932), The Dead Don't Die (October, 1932), The Candy Killer (November, 1932), and A Truck-Load of Diamonds (December, 1932).

Cardigan is a private eye stamped from the same mold as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, those icons of hard-boiled fiction created by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler: a laconic, wise-cracking gumshoe with a fondness for booze and dames in trouble, as quick with his fists as his gun, and a tendency to stumble over corpses and have a run-in with the law.

As I’ve read these volumes a bit in reverse order (volumes 2, 3 and 4 are available in e-book version, while no. 1 is not, so this one is actually the last one I bought and read) it’s fun to see how Nebel developed Cardigan in the course of the series. I’ve described his later stories as “small gems of hard-boiled fiction”; the first couple of stories in this collection are also diamonds, but still a bit in the rough, as Nebel was obviously still working on finding his “Cardigan-voice”.

It didn’t take Nebel long to hit on the Cardigan trade-marks that lasted throughout the series. At first Cardigan is just described as big and shaggy-headed. In the second story, his faded fedora pops up, which gets more battered throughout the series, while in “Six Diamonds And A Dick” we get introduced to Patricia Seaward, from then on a recurring character in the series.

Although the first stories take place in St. Louise, with Cardigan being the head of the Cosmos Agency branch in that city, from “Murder On The Loose” on, he is in New York, working for agency-head Hammerhorn, having had to move because he antagonized the wrong people and they broke his license in the State of Missouri.

No matter where these stories take place, these two-fisted tales are exemplars of how noir fiction should be written, filled to the brim with slam-bang action, keen characterization and crackling dialogue. Recommended for all lovers of hardboiled and pulp fiction!

If you haven't read them yet and this collection has whetted your appetite for more of Nebel’s work: next to the three other volumes in the "Complete Casebook of Cardigan" series, there is the one-volume "Tough as Nails: The Complete Cases of Donahue", which collects the fifteen hard-boiled P.I. stories about gumshoe Donahue, a character similar to Cardigan, which Nebel wrote for Black Mask Magazine, and of course the four volumes in the “The Complete Cases of MacBride & Kennedy” series (of which the first two volumes are available at the time when this review was written) and which collect the 39 stories Nebel wrote featuring police Captain Steve MacBride and reporter Kennedy of the Free Press, also for Black Mask Magazine.
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