Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Although Frederick Nebel published three novels, two of which have to do with crime, his major contribution was the large number of hard-boiled short stories he wrote between 1926 and 1937. Along with Dashiell Hammett, Carroll John Daly, Raoul Whitfield, Erle Stanley Gardner, and a few others, he was one of the writers closely associated with the magazine Black Mask under the editorship of Joseph Shaw. Although his later decision to abandon crime fiction in favor of slicker, mass-market journalism has led to his being almost completely forgotten, Nebel should be considered one of the seminal figures in the development of the hard-boiled style. Grimy, realistic, graphically violent, and often pitiless in their contempt for human frailty, his best stories merit the same serious literary consideration given to those of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.