FFB: The Detective in Hollywood

The Detective in Hollywood by Jon Tuska, © 1978, DoubleDay & Co. 1978 hardcover. Reference (mystery)

This is the 37th in my series of Friday Forgotten Books

I no longer remember how I first heard of this book, probably through the mystery APA DAPA-Em of which I have been a member for many years. It’s a fine reference book, but it’s entertaining enough to take up and read or browse with no other purpose than the pleasure of reading about Hollywood’s depiction of the detective over the years.

In general usage, the term “detective” can be used in reference to a cop, a private investigator or an amateur, and there some references in this book here to all types, but as you can see from the cover, the book focuses primarily on, the P.I.

The contents page:

  1. The Reichenbach Falls Caper
  2. The Philo Vance Murder Case
  3. The Detective at Large
  4. “Chinatown, My Chinatown”
  5. Marriage and Murder
  6. The Detctive in Transition
  7. Detective Series in the Forties
  8. A Conference with Raymond Chandler
  9. Interlude: Film Noir
  10. The Contemporary Scene

To go into a great deal of detail about this one would be impossible, it’s reference book and a history of Hollywood’s portrayal of detectives and there is no single aspect to hang specifics on. It’s well researched and written and there are lots (though never enough) of b&w photographs. There may be errors in the text, I’m not enough of an expert to know, since this is where I got most of my information, but nothing jumped out at me as wrong. More knowledgeable readers and reviewers would have more to say.  If you like to see another review of the book, Vince Keenan has done a very nice one HERE with additional information and perspective.

I’ll just say it’s full of history and facts and will provide hours of enjoyment to anyone who is interested in the topic. Hat tip to Evan Lewis, whose recent posts on the Nero Wolfe films reminded me I had this. A visit to Evan’s fine blog, Davy Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West is always rewarding. As is this book.

~  ~  ~  ~

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and
posts a complete list of today’s participating blogs.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, reading, Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to FFB: The Detective in Hollywood

  1. I’m a big fan of Jon Tuska’s work and THE DETECTIVE IN HOLLYWOOD is one of his best books. After reading your review, I’ll have to dig it out an reread it!

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read his Philo Vance book years ago. (Wow – it was 1976! Philo Vance: The Life and Times of S. S. Van Dine.)

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    This sounds like great fun.

  4. Evan Lewis says:

    Appreciate the kind words, Rick. Back at ya. I’m amazed I’ve never read this book.

  5. Todd Mason says:

    I knew I knew Tuska’s name from somewhere before it started popping up on western-fiction anthologies, but hadn’t had the wit to Go Look. This does sound intriguing.

  6. Sounds like a fun to read book. growing up, I did love detective/cop shows, with a few exceptions, after westerns started to slip away.

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