"Blackmailers Don't Shoot," from the December 1933 issue of Black Mask, was Raymond Chandler's first published story. I re-read it recently and found it shockingly good. Shocking that Chandler was that good on his very first story, and he just kept getting better. The hero is a tough guy named Mallory. He's recently come from Chicago to L.A., and though one of the characters asks if he's a private detective, it's never really stated one way or the other. Because this one is told in third-person, no one ever tried to turn it into a Marlowe story. No one, that is, until HBO adapted it for their TV series back in 1986.
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