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Forget the fedora, but double the length of the dark alley. Noir fiction isn't necessarily what you think. In the public imagination, the idea of noir is dominated by the films of the 1940s and early 1950s—overcoats and cigarettes, femmes fatale with gams that just won't quit, and plenty of the cheapest gin. But noir fiction is something different: there are few hardboiled detectives, and the female characters aren't the sexpots Hollywood makes it profits from. In hardboiled crime fiction, the characters are all tough. In noir, they're all screwed.
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