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Dashiell Hammett

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Lost Stories (2005)
Hammett Crime Stories and Other Writings (2001)
Nightmare Town (2000)
The Continental Op (1974)

The Big Knockover (1966)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Red Harvest (1929)
The Dain Curse (1929)

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Lost Stories

Dashiell Hammett, the creator of Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man, was one of the 20th century’s most influential and entertaining authors. Even so, many of Hammett’s stories—including some of his best—have been out of the reach of anyone but a handful of scholars and collectors, until now. This essential compendium rescues 21 long-lost Hammett stories, all either never collected in an anthology or unavailable for decades. These stories appear nowhere else, and represent a variety of styles from the famous mysterysmith: his first detective fiction, humorous satires, adventure yarns, a sensitive autobiographical piece, and a Thin Man story told with photos. In addition, all stories have been restored to their original versions, replacing often wholesale cuttings with the original text for the first time. To round out this celebration of Hammett, three-time Edgar Award–winner Joe Gores has written an introduction describing how Hammett influenced literature, movies, television, and Gores’ own life.

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Hammett Crime Stories and Other Writings

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.

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Nightmare Town

Here are twenty long-unavailable stories by the master who brought us The Maltese Falcon. Laconic coppers, lowlifes, and mysterious women double- and triple-cross their colleagues with practiced nonchalance. A man on a bender awakens in a small town with a dark mystery at its heart. A woman confronts a brutal truth about her husband. Here is classic noir: hard-boiled descriptions to rival Hemingway, verbal exchanges punctuated with pistol shots and fisticuffs. Devilishly plotted, whip-smart, impassioned, Nightmare Town is a treasury of tales from America's poet laureate of the dispossessed.

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The Continental Op

Short, thick-bodied, mulishly stubborn, and indifferent to pain, Dashiell Hammett's Continetal Op was the prototype for generations of tough-guy detectives. In these stories the Op unravels a murder with too many clues, looks for a girl with eyes the color of shadows on polished silver, and tangles with a crooked-eared gunman called the Whosis Kid.

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The Big Knockover

Short, thick-bodied, mulishly stubborn, and indifferent to physical pain, Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op was the prototype for generations of tough-guy detectives. He is also the hero of most of the nine stories in this volume. The Op's one enthusiasm is doing his job, and in The Big Knockover the jobs entail taking on a gang of modern-day freebooters, a vice-ridden hell's acre in the Arizona desert, and the bank job to end all bank jobs, along with such assorted grifters as Babe McCloor, Bluepoint Vance, Alphabet Shorty McCoy, and the Dis-and-Dat Kid.

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The Thin Man

Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett's most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.

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The Maltese Falcon

It came out more than 75 years ago and is still one of the best-known crime mystery novels. Penned by renowned American writer Dashiell Hammet it features the famous and most imitated private eye of all time – the flinty eyed, hard-boiled Sam Spade. A greedy and ruthless cast of characters meet their match in the antihero detective Sam Spade as they search for the Maltese Falcon, a fabulously valuable 16th century artifact.

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Red Harvest

When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.

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The Dain Curse

The Continental Op is a short, squat, and utterly unsentimental tank of a private detective. Miss Gabrielle Dain Leggett is young, wealthy, and a devotee of morphine and religious cults. She has an unfortunate effect on the people around her: they have a habit of dying violently. Is Gabrielle the victim of a family curse? Or is the truth about her weirder and infinitely more dangerous? The Dain Curse is one of the Continental Op's most bizarre cases, and a tautly crafted masterpiece of suspense.

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