Detective fiction is one of the America's most popular and enduring literary genres. This critical text examines the fiction of Earl Derr Biggers, S. S. Van Dine, and Dashiell Hammett during a crucial half-decade when they transformed the detective story. The characters they created, including Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, and the Continental Op, represented a new style of detective solving crimes in fresh ways. Their successes would push crime and detective fiction in startling and rejuvenating directions. Topics covered include the highbrow detective, the ethnic detective, the exploitation of contemporary sensations, and the exploitation of women.