Select Page

L.A. Private Eyes

L.A. Private Eyes examines the tradition of the private eye as it evolves in films, books, and television shows set in Los Angeles from the 1930’s through the present day. It takes a closer look at narratives — both on screen and on the printed page — in which detectives travel the streets of Los Angeles, uncovering corruption, moral ambiguity, and greed with the conviction of urban cowboys, while always ultimately finding truth and redemption. With a review of Los Angeles history, crime stories, and film noir, L.A. Private Eyes explores the metamorphosis of the solitary detective figure and the many facets of the genre itself, from noir to mystery, on the screen. While the conventions of the genre may have remained consistent and recognizable, the points where they evolve illuminate much about our changing gender and power roles.

What People Are Saying

“Slip into the gritty romantic noir of the LA detective scene with Dahlia Schweitzer and you won’t want to leave — at least not until she’s helped you unlock the genre’s mysteries, its place in American culture, and its evolution. Bring a fedora, a stiff drink, and a desire to understand, as Schweitzer does, the light and dark sides of the private eye.” 
– Jonathan Allen, award-winning journalist and New York Times-bestselling author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign

“With the same punchy, elegant concision true to the noir style, Schweitzer reappraises the long line of L.A. gumshoes from Philip Marlowe and Easy Rawlins through Veronica Mars.”
– Noah Isenberg, Professor and Chair, Department of Radio-TV-Film, University of Texas at Austin and author of We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie

“Much more than a deftly written and comprehensive chronicle of the enduring appeal of the LA detective, Schweitzer’s book compellingly traverses the fields of history, geography and popular culture so that we might more fully grasp this absorbing character and its inflections over decades of literature, radio, film and TV. From Philip Marlowe to Easy Rawlins to Veronica Mars, the author invites the reader on a compressed tour of the mean streets, stifling suburbs and sprawling highways inhabited by this private eye, with insight and acumen. If you think you know this icon already, Schweitzer’s writing will make you think again.”
– Deborah Jermyn, Reader in Film and TV, University of Roehampton, and author of Prime Suspect (2010)

“Dahlia Schweitzer pounds the pavement in search of the gumshoes who pervade the city and popular culture.  She uncovers the clues, weighs the evidence, and presents her case in yet another terrific, informative read.” 
– Mike White, The Projection Booth