Dashiell Hammett by Dashiell Hammett
Crime Stories and Other Writings (Library of America)

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Synopsis

"If Dashiell Hammett ends up rubbing (or bending) elbows with Mark Twain, why, probably neither man will mind." (Chicago Sun Times, on Hammett: Complete Novels)

In scores of stories written for Black Mask and other pulp magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, Dashiell Hammett used the vernacular adventure tale to register the jarring textures and revved-up cadences of modern America. His stories opened up crime fiction to the realities of American streets and American speech. These texts, along with some revealing essays and an early version of his novel The Thin Man, are reprinted here for the first time without the cuts and revisions introduced by later editors.

Hammett's years of experience as a Pinkerton detective give even his most outlandishly plotted mysteries a gritty credibility. Mixing melodramatic panache and poker-faced comedy, his stories are hard-edged entertainment for an era of headlong change and extravagant violence, tracking the devious, nearly nihilistic exploits of con men and blackmailers, slumming socialites and deadpan assassins. As guide through this underworld he created the Continental Op, the nameless and deliberately unheroic detective separated from the brutality and corruption around him only by his professionalism.

Steven Marcus is the editor.
 

About Dashiell Hammett

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Published September 10, 2001 by Library of America. 934 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dashiell Hammett

Kirkus Reviews

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The father of hard-boiled detective fiction, whose five novels got the Library of America treatment in 1999, now returns in two dozen stories and three related items: the early version of The Thin Man, first published in Nightmare Town (2000);

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Kirkus Reviews

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Yet another trip to the Hammett archive discloses the two screen stories on which the films After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939) were based, along with a bonus, an unproduced (and probably unproducible) outline for a Sequel to The Thin Man.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

The New York Times

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Nevertheless, Gores is pushing it when he has Sam Spade allude to George Sand, and it’s hard to believe that in 1925 Spade would be reading “The Great Gatsby” — which had just been published — or whistling Louis Armstrong’s newly recorded “Gut Bucket Blues.” How does a working detective (who, as ...

Feb 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

The Guardian

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Spade is hired by a beautiful, mysterious young woman, with a variety of pseudonyms and a breathless way of speaking, to trail someone called Floyd, so paranoid that he always sleeps with crumpled newspaper round his bed to hear who's sneaking up on him.

Jul 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

Publishers Weekly

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Both portray an almost fiercely private individual—"In our family much unsaid was nonetheless understood"—but the paternal influence seems to have been passed on, with Jo Hammett commenting on her mother: "I realize that I didn't know her any more than my children know me."

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Publishers Weekly

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In ""His Brother's Keeper,"" a story of betrayal and redemption is told through the eyes of a dumb prize-fighter, so that the reader is always a step ahead of the narrator, but is sympathetic toward him.

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Publishers Weekly

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Biographer Layman (Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett) and Rivett, Hammett's granddaughter, offer a deeply involving anthology of the voluminous correspondence of Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), culled from more than 1,000 surviving letters.

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Publishers Weekly

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Hammett completists and film fans will best appreciate this collection containing the story treatments that became After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939), the sequels to the original Hollywood hit, The Thin Man (1934), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as imbibing investigators...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

BC Books

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In 1999 fans of hard boiled detective stories got a fresh treat, from writings at least 70 years old.

Mar 25 2005 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

Pajiba

There are a couple of reasons I started reading The Maltese Falcon (1929) by Dashiell Hammett.

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The New York Review of Books

…I have just caught up with The New York Review for Nov. 25, with [Lillian Hellman’s] memoir of Dashiell Hammett.

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The New York Review of Books

I know as little about the nature of romantic love as I knew when I was eighteen, but I do know about the deep pleasure of continuing interest, the excitement of wanting to know what somebody else thinks, will do, will not do, the tricks played and unplayed, the short cord that the years make int...

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The Paris Review

Vines has this way of delivering a deliciously playful line with a face so straight you feel like a fool for thinking words could work any other way.

Oct 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stori...

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