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Crime stories and other writings (edition 2001)

by Dashiell Hammett

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257244,720 (4.35)1
Member:bjuhl
Title:Crime stories and other writings
Authors:Dashiell Hammett
Info:New York : Distributed to the trade in the U.S. by Penguin Putnam, c2001.
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Crime Stories & Other Writings by Dashiell Hammett

  1. 00
    The Complete Slayers: Fast One and the Complete Short Stories of Paul Cain by Paul Cain (Thomas64)
    Thomas64: Paul Cain and Hammett were two of the major Black Mask writers.
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THE MALTESE FALCON
July 11, 2017

I'm not a big fan of Hammett, but I revisited this as my daughter was reading it for a RL book club. I can never remember the actual story here. Now I know why. There isn't a particle of story in it. A few people get bumped off, a lot of dumb slang gets thrown about, and a woman acts like a complete ninny. Pages and pages are spent in pointless argument about how to go about something, neither side presenting any new reasons for "doing it my way". I like me a good noir novel; this one failed to establish the atmosphere for me. I love a fine hard-boiled detective, but Sam Spade has nothing to love. Sorry to trash a classic, but I'm not impressed. Also, there's the misogyny, and the fairly distasteful representation of homosexuals.
  laytonwoman3rd | Aug 5, 2017 |
This is a collection primarily of short stories. There are a few other items (chiefly an early draft of what became "The Thin Man"), but the vast majority of the book is stories.

I enjoyed the ones starring The Continental Op. Hammett's spare, detached style suited that character's voice. However, the voice doesn't change when the protagonist does. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the protagonist doesn't really change much - they don't tend to vary much in personality, although there are differences in surface characteristics. I found this jarring, and several times was unpleasantly jerked out of the story by the realization that what I was reading was not a Continental Op story.

Those stories build a consistent world, existing in the seedy underworld of San Francisco. There are recurring characters and locations, things fit in well together. Hammett's world building is first rate. He also constructs real detective stories. There are clues, and the Continental Op figures things out, based (mostly) on material actually present on the page.

Worth reading, but I'll be looking for his novels next, rather than more short stories. ( )
1 vote teckelvik | Jun 2, 2010 |
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In the stories and novellas he wrote for Black Mask and other pulp magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, Dashiell Hammett took the detective story and turned it into a medium for capturing the jarring textures and revved-up cadences of modern American life. In this volume, The Library of America collects the finest of these stories: 24 in all, along with some revealing essays and an earlier version of his novel The Thin Man. Mixing melodramatic panache and poker-faced comedy, a sensitivity to place and a perceptive grasp of social conflict, Hammett's stories are hard-edged entertainments for an era of headlong change and extravagant violence. For the heroic sagas of earlier eras Hammett substituted the up-tempo, devious, sometimes nearly nihilistic exploits of con men and blackmailers, fake spiritualists and thieving politicians, slumming socialites and deadpan assassins. As a guide through this underworld he created the Continental Op, the nameless, laconic detective, world-weary and unblinking, who serves as protagonist of most of these stories. The deliberately unheroic Op is separated only by his code of professionalism from the brutality and corruption that run rampant in stories such as "Zigzags of Treachery," "Dead Yellow Women," "Fly Paper," and "$106,000 Blood Money." Hammett's years of experience as a Pinkerton detective give even his most outlandishly plotted mysteries a gritty credibility, and his intimate knowledge of San Francisco made him the perfect chronicler of that city's waterfronts, back alleys, police stations, and luxury hotels. By connecting crime fiction to the realities of American streets and American speech, his Black Mask stories opened up new vistas for generations of writers and readers. In the most comprehensive collection of his stories ever published, read the Hammett you've never read: reprinted here for the first time are the texts that originally appeared in the 1920's & 1930's pulps, without the cuts & revisions introduced by later editors. Also included are revealing essays & an early version of the novel The Thin Man.… (more)

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