The Big Sleep was published in 1939 and was immediately labelled as « hard-boiled ». The New Yorker described it as a « terrifying story of degeneracy in Southern California by an author who almost makes Dashiell Hammett seem as innocuous as Winnie-the-Pooh ». Chandler, much more than any other detective story-writer in America, has established a tradition of which leading contemporary writers like James Ellroy could be regarded as the inheritors. As W.H. Auden wrote : « Chandler is interested in writing, not detective stories, but serious studies of a criminal milieu, the Great Wrong Place, and his powerful but extremely depressing books should be read and judged, not as escape literature, but as works of art ».