The period of the classic American detective stories, especially the hard boiled ones
. The classic era of Film Noir
War may be happening in Europe, but for the moment it's still the Jazz Age
in the USA. Newspapers are sold by young, possibly disabled, boys on the street. Businesses are run by Corrupt Corporate Executives
, and while the well-off enjoy nightclubs, the after-effects of The Great Depression
still overshadow the lives of the poor.
The Trope Namer story suggests it is "1938, maybe '39, maybe even 1940" and calls this "eighteen months or so before the start of World War II". Hah! Try telling a European that!
Prohibition is probably over, but the power that The Mob gained in that period means they run many of the bars and clubs. The police may be trustworthy or they may be corrupt. They may very well be brutal.
Differs from the Genteel Interbellum Setting
, with which it overlaps with the last years of, in being more urban, more cynical, more violent, more temporally specific (in contrast to the Genteel Interbellum Setting
's chronological indeterminacy, Chandler American Time
is confined to the very tail end of the epoch) and geographically confined to the USA
Everyone wears hats.
Crimes are committed by the kinds of people who commit crimes in real life, and by realistic methods. Shootings by ex-gangsters trying to prevent their past being exposed? Yes. Chief of French police chopping a millionaire's head off, then switching it with another head he pinched from the guillotine, all because the policeman was an atheist
and wanted to stop the millionaire leaving his fortune to the church? No. (That's an actual Father Brown
Since elaborate but silly
murder methods are out, any crime must have many suspects and incredibly tangled motives in order to be puzzling. This is usually helped along by having the poor sap that kicks off the plot being a bit of an Asshole Victim
Nothing to do with Chandler Bing