- Gebundene Ausgabe: 967 Seiten
- Verlag: Library of America; Auflage: New. (30. August 1999)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1883011671
- ISBN-13: 978-1883011673
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,2 x 3,1 x 20,7 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 42.613 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Hammett: Complete Novels (Library of America) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. August 1999
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
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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In "Red Harvest" (1929) the Op fights corruption in Personville, a town so contaminated with vice that its citizens casually call it Poisonville. By setting various criminal factions against one another, the Op manages to get most of them killed off and the town cleaned up. The narrative is told in the first person by the Op who has few opinions about anything except his work, which he carries out with ruthless efficiency. The novel is sophisticated and stylized in a way that would have been beyond Hammett's capacities a year or two earlier in the pulp stories. Poisonville is based on Anaconda and Butte City, Montana. In the early 1900s this area in Southwest Montana was the center of one of the richest ore deposits in America and Anaconda Copper Mining Co. was the largest that developed in the area, and the law existed only to serve the interests of the fabulously wealthy mining corporations which unashamedly exploited its miners.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
I named my son after him.
But, regardless of your method, read Hammett, read everything by Hammett.
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"The Maltese Falcon" (1930) and "The Glass Key" (1931) are flawless. "The Maltese Falcon" features private detective Sam Spade, a irresistible femme fatale, and the ruthless pursuit of an ancient gold statuette. The last pages of the book are some of the most hard-hitting and cynical in all of noir fiction. And they're brilliant. "The Glass Key" explores political corruption that leads to personal tragedy in an unnamed American city. Oddly, the detective is the right-hand man of a crime boss. "Red Harvest" (1929) features the adventures of Hammett's most popular detective, the Continental Op, in a town called Personville, or Poisonville to those who know it better. The always unnamed detective for the Continental Detective Agency finds himself responsible for cleaning up a mining town that is ruled by violence and mob warfare. The novel's opening paragraph deserves to be read several times. "The Thin Man" (1934) is an attempt at humor among New York's blue-blooded, cold-blooded upper crust. Hard-boiled humor is interesting in concept. But I find the characters in this novel more pitiful than funny, and Hammett's style was in decline at this point. At least his characteristic cynicism wasn't. "The Dain Curse" (1929) is another Continental Op novel. This one is melodramatic, absurd, and not up to Hammett's usual standards. Hammett fans shouldn't miss it, but others may find it pointless. I described the novels in order of descending quality. "Complete Novels" organizes them chronologically.
Five novels is a lot to pack into one book. But "Complete Novels" doesn't resemble a door stop. It's a handy size actually. The print is not too small, but the pages are quite thin. Editor Stanley Marcus, a literary critic and frequent admirer of Hammett's work, has included a Chronology of Hammett's life and several pages of notes on the novels in the back of the book. The chronology is informative and provides all of the apparently significant events in Hammett's life. The notes are mostly definitions of colloquialisms used in the novels, which are useful. The notes also contain an introduction to "The Maltese Falcon", written by Hammett in 1934, in which he explains the origins of that novel's characters. It's quite interesting. For those who prefer to own these novels separately, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard hs published some handsome trade paperback editions. But if you want hardback and don't mind all five novels in one volume, this is quite a nice book.
"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.
"The Thin Man" brings us Nick and Nora Charles, wealthy and dysfunctional New Yorkers who seem like unlikely detectives. When a friend reintroduces Nick to the family of eccentric genius Richard Wynant, they find a confusing web spun around Wynant (the Thin Man). His ex-wife has married a bitter rival, and his kids aren't being forthright. Who is the Thin Man, and what has he done?
Hammett's writing style is spare and to-the-point, but is shockingly vivid when it needs to be (such as the human sacrifice scene in "Dain Curse"). His leading men are hardened, cynical, and live by their own sense of justice, but surprisingly deep and human. The supporting characters are also good: sighing femme fatales, cultured obese gangsters, accursed damsels, charismatic cult leaders, frightened young girls, and corrupt politicians.
There's a certain amount of narrative awkwardness in some of the books; "Curse" reads like three novellas, and "Harvest" is virtually impossible to understand at first. Some of the books may need to be read multiple times to really absorb the story, so that their complexity and twisting storylines can be fully appreciated.
Only a handful of authors have managed to do what Dashiell Hammett did for the crime novel. His complete novels are a searing, twisting, deliciously noir read. Highly recommended.
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's novels include The Maltese Falcon (#3) and The Thin Man(#5), which are great films but they are missing some of the intrigue of the real stories. For instance, there's another angle of Sam Spade involving Iva Archer that doesn't quite make it to the film version . . . .
The Red Harvest (#1) reveals shocking corruption in city politics as the Continental Op (literally) wades through bootleg liquor and tries to keep track of the soaring body count.
The Dain Curse (#2) is a confusing compound of drug use, a religious cult, and a family's vicious criminal record. It isn't a neat, fictionalised detective story, but rather the slough of deceit Hammett must have seen while working for Pinkerton.
The Glass Key (#4) also deals with city-level political corruption, but there's another message: think of trying to use a glass key . . . .
When fortifying myself for a six hour layover and a trans-Atlantic flight, I stumbled upon this book quite by accident, but I couldn't have made a better choice. Hammett's novels make excellent reading: interesting plots, clever wording and some of those "lines" film noir can't do without. I can't resist giving an example "line" (from The Glass Key):
"'A copper found you crawling on all fours up the middle of Colman Street at three in the morning leaving a trail of blood behind you.'
'I think of funny things to do,' Ned Beaumont said."
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...