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Dashiell Hammett: The Complete Novels Hardcover – Aug 30 1999
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From Library Journal
It was a big year for Hammett. He was the subject of a TV film as well as an American Masters TV biography. Knopf, his original publisher, gathered 20 early stories, and the Library of America added his complete novels to its prestigious ranks. Long overdue recognition. (Classic Returns, LJ 8/99)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Steven Marcus is the author of Dickens: From Pickwick to Dombey and Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis and editor of The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud. His work has appeared in many periodicals, including Commentary, The New York Review of Books, Partisan Review, and The New Statesman.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Red Harvest" introduces the Continental Op, cool-as-a-cucumber private detective who arrives in Personvilles (often pronounced "Poisonville") for a client, Donald Wilson, who has been suddenly murdered. Soon the Continental Op finds himself being hired by Donald's father Elihu to clean up Personville. To do so, he'll have to fight fire with fire, and play dirty with the many dangerous crooks.
"The Dain Curse" starts off with an ordinary diamond heist where things don't seem quite right. It soon leads the Continental Op to Gabrielle Leggett, a young woman with a drug habit, an attachment to a cult, a bizarre family secret, and who is convinced in the "Dain Curse" that has supposedly slain her entire family. The Op sets out to discover the origins of the cult and cure Gabrielle of her drug use...
"The Maltese Falcon" starts with a simple case, in which a young woman asks the private investigators Sam Spade and Miles Archer to trail her sister's lover. Except not only does she not have a sister, but she's wrapped up in a bizarre hunt for the priceless, elusive Maltese Falcon. Sam Spade must unravel a tangle of lies and murder to find out who killed Miles, and what is going on with the Falcon.
"The Glass Key presents Ned Beaumont, a gambler-turned-murder-investigator who has to start investigating when a Senator's son is murdered. What he uncovers is more than murder, but deception, desperate political games, gangsters and money.Read more ›
RED HARVEST featuring the Continental Op is a real romp through a completely corrupt town which gets what's coming to it because a corrupt police official makes the middle aged fat man protagonist mad. There's an underlying theme of corruption as a true poison.
THE DAIN CURSE is again the Continental Op, and here you see glimpses of a tender side to a character who is basically completely self controlled. And in this, you see the very weak female character turn into an admirably strong woman.
THE MALTESE FALCON is of course the true classic, a study of greed and deception. Sam Spade's story of a character named Flitcraft gives the reader the author's perspective on the randomness of life.
THE GLASS KEY gives a sleazy view of politics and makes a couple of points about friendship.
THE THIN MAN appears lightweight after the first four, but a second reading reveals a portrait of a very able person who allowed passion to leave his life, and is slowly going down the drain.
Crime fans will especially love this collection, but there is a whole lot of value concerning human nature and the framework of society here.
Hammett reinvents the hard-boiled and hard-boiled is forever changed. With his tight yet elegant prose that recalls Hemingway, Hammett leads us head-first through a maze of corruption and murder with genius that is only matched later by Raymond Chandler. Hammett never trusts the reader, much to the reader's delight: the endings are stunning yet not fantastic (as was Poirot). The only reason for which you shouldn't read this book would be to give other authors a fighting chance on your bookshelf...
Most recent customer reviews
Really interesting to see this writing style and most enjoyable after just having watched Humphrey Bogart in the Maltese FalconPublished 14 months ago by Dr. Gary H. Kramer
this was a gift for my son for Christmas. It was exactly what he asked for the price was good and it shipped fast.Published on Dec 27 2013 by Cindy Herrick
While I have been a keen consumer of quality crime writing since the mid '60's, I was only vaguely aware of Hammett (while being familiar with the film of the Maltese Falcon). Read morePublished on Dec 4 2013 by Kevin Pritchard
Hammett was the best writer ever to take to crime fiction. All his writing is lean and elegant.
The Dain Curse (his first novel) is not very good, but the other 4 are superb. Read more
I had read some Raymond Chandler and found him to be too dense and boring (at least his early stories). Read morePublished on June 18 2001