La cabeza de la hidra (1978), by Carlos Fuentes [The Hydra Head, 1979], is a conscious parody of, and tribute to, works from the hard-boiled school of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. As critics such as Lanin Gyurko have noted, the book also alludes to movies based on or influenced by American hard-boiled fiction, specifically films noirs such as Dark Passage (1947) (Gyurko, Lecture) and, of course, The Maltese Falcon (1941). Its hero, Felix Maldonado, is a government functionary who undergoes a seeming change of identity through plastic surgery, becoming an agent of the Mexican secret service. Although Maldonado echoes the heroes of Hammett and Chandler, he is neither as resourceful nor as fully drawn as his cousins in Anglo-American thriller fiction.



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