Down the Chandleresque “mean streets” of darkest Dublin

Down the Chandleresque “mean streets” of darkest Dublin The Bogart raincoat look
Dane Jeross: The Irish Private Eye who Operates Hollywood Noir Style, by Cyril McHale
(Available from Amazon Media Eu: kindle edition,  £9.99; paperback,  £11.00.)


Every classic Hollywood film is essentially a story and all of human life is to be found in those stories.  They range from stories about the ‘Wild West’ to accounts of the struggle between the police and hoodlums for control of the streets of the mega cities of the US.

Most are based on the work of well-known novelists.  Historical fiction and, in recent years, the presentation of historical events have had the highest viewing figures.  However, the crime story and the detective story remain the staple offering of the film industry.

From his earliest years Cyril McHale has been a Hollywood film-buff with a particular interest in films on crime and the adventures of various ‘private eyes’.


He tells us “I got fixated with the gangster genre at an early age.  I loved to see the likes of Bogart, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Bob Mitchum taking on the low-life hoods of their world”.  It seems his favourite ‘private eyes’ were Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, the creations of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler respectively.

Cyril’s fondness for Hollywood films also prompts him to give the female lead in his tale the name Marilyn Hayworth – recalling two of Hollywood’s legendary actresses”

His attachment to them and the culture surrounding them is obvious in the manner in which he sets out his novel on Dane Jeross, a Dublin private eye.  Dane models himself on those tough, wise-cracking private eyes who protected the beautiful blonde heroines.  He even wears a fedora and trench coat and inevitably ‘packs’ a pistol.  All is brought to life on the screen by Humphry Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Cyril’s fondness for Hollywood films also prompts him to give the female lead in his tale the name Marilyn Hayworth – recalling two of Hollywood’s legendary actresses.

Paddy Connors, an Irish-American, is at the centre of the plot of Cyril’s private-eye story which unfolds Hollywood noir style.  Connors married Kate and after she was in receipt of a sizable inheritance, absconded with it.

As the story begins, she is now Dane’s assistant and both are tireless in their search for Connors.  Then a client seeks Dane’s assistance to discover whether or not her fiancé is two-timing her.  It turns out he is none other than Connors, having physically changed his appearance and adopted a new persona.


There are many turns and twists in the tale, but eventually Connors is brought to book.  Before that is achieved, however, while out on bail Connors disappears and attempts to escape to the United States.

He is tracked down by Dane and his assistant in a restaurant.  Connors grabs Kate and holds a fork to her throat.  This ruse to escape and kidnap Kate is thwarted as, when he leaves the restaurant, he discovers that the ‘parking police’ had taken possession of his car.

McHale’s story is deftly developed.   His description of the characters is convincing and the dialogue is lively. An entertaining homage to a golden era of  crime and detection, it is a tale of Dublin’s ‘mean streets’ for a sunny summer holiday reading treat.


J. Anthony Gaughan is a historian and critic