Authors, publishers, and librarians throw around terms like hardboiled and noir with great frequency when they are breaking down mysteries into smaller, subgenres. Unlike terms like cozy which quite clearly conjure up a picture of what one can expect from a mystery with that designation (calm, tea and coookies, curling up with a good book), hardboiled is less clear (does the detective has a harden yellow center?).
And then you add noir into the mix, and it gets very confusing.
But never fear, help is a click away. Over on Critical Element, the hardboiled mystery writer Max Allan Collins, has this great essay explaining it all quite clearly.
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