Spanning the whole of Dashiell Hammett's brief writing career from 1922 to 1934, Dashiell Hammett: A Centenary Anthology is the largest Hammett collection ever published. While his novels The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man are world-famous from the enduring success of their big screen movie adaptations, Hammett's shorter fiction is much less well known. This anthology fills that gap, offering 35 stories that are as fresh and compelling today as when they were first published. It was Hammett who brought realism to the detective story genre, transforming what many viewed as pulp fiction into literature, and the stories here emerge as distinctly and authentically American. Characterized by fast-paced realism and Hammett's half-amused yet entirely hard-edged prose, they provide a rich mix of crime, humor, irony, despair, and blazing action. Hammett wrote of murder, theft, and corruption as one who had experienced the dark underbelly of life firsthand, as indeed he had during more than ten years as an agent with the legendary Pinkerton Detective Agency. From "Another Perfect Crime," a laudably succinct lampoon of precisely the kinds of crime story from which Hammett was struggling to free himself early in his career, to stories featuring Hammett's never-named detective, the Continental Op, and even a tale featuring the most renowned hardboiled private detective of them all, Sam Spade, these tales of murder and mayhem, defeat and loss, hoodlums andthrown fights are compulsively good reads. As introduced by Jack Adrian in this unique collection, they represent the incomparable legacy of a great American writer whose short stories and novels had a profound influence on 20th century culture and film.