Garden City: Doubleday, Doran, 1933. First Edition of the author's first book and only novel. INSCRIBED on the front endpaper to fellow hard-boiled author Dwight V. Babcock, and signed with both the author's pseudonym and actual name: "For Dwight Babcock / This very little book / Paul Cain (Peter Ruric)." The only signed copy we have ever seen, let alone one with an association. Babcock (or Cain) has tipped on to the front pastedown the portions of the jacket front flap and rear panel that describe the main characters.
One of the most important hard-boiled crime novels of the twentieth century--and one of the rarest--by an author who some claim invented the genre along with Dashiell Hammett, and who was a noted inspiration for Raymond Chandler. The novel's story concerns a mysterious criminal loner who insinuates himself in, and wreaks havoc on, the Los Angeles underworld. A prototype for many characters that would follow in the genre, the protagonist is unremittingly merciless to just about everyone, but loyal to those who deal squarely with him. The only novel (and only hardcover title) issued in the author's lifetime, along with a collection of short stories, issued as a paperback original. The publisher's promotional material compared the book to "The Maltese Falcon," "Little Caesar," and Raoul Whitfield's "Green Ice." Cain was the pseudonym of Peter Ruric, a Hollywood screenwriter, referred to in Bill Pronzini's survey of mystery literature "1001 Midnights" as "(unquestionably)...the hardest of the hard-boiled writers for "Black Mask" in the early 1930s."
Very Good or better. Backstrip toned, front hinge tender, and some light fray to the spine ends. Very solid overall.