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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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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), the former Pinkerton detective, reinvented the mystery story in five books written between 1929 and 1934. He earned fame as a novelist, notoriety as a Hollywood screen writer, went to prison as an uncooperative McCarthy committee witness, and died an obscure death. He became the most important member of the hard-boiled school of fiction, not only using his experience as a former Pinkerton man but employing a cool and tough and hard-boiled attitude and transferred Hemingway's mood and realistic dialogue to the genre of detective fiction. The Hammett detective most pure is the Continental Op, the nameless Pinkerton detective. The Op, perhaps even more than Sam Spade, is free of sentiment, the fear of death, the temptations of sex and money.

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.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What a joy to have all the novels of this American author and freedom-fighter in one place. This guy wrote the real thing, with unmatched concision, and all the Ellroys in the world won't match him.
I named my son after him.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book. If you're a Hammett fan, it's worth investing in. Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key and The Thin Man are gathered in this real cloth-bound book. The book stays open, flat. It even has a satin ribbon bound in to hold your place. It sounds a bit strange to gush over the bookmaking, but I think this volume is a worthy container for the classic content inside.
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Von Ein Kunde am 2. Oktober 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
roll over in his grave - forgive the cliche. To think that anyone would ever want to prissy up the crass, hard-boiled writings of Dashiell Hammett by combining them all into one, glossy, spit-polished volume.... If you want to read Hammett the way Hammett is meant to be read, go to a used book store. Find the most beat up, tired copies that you can, and, for effect, tear off the front covers and burn the page edges.
But, regardless of your method, read Hammett, read everything by Hammett.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a8d124c) von 5 Sternen 69 Rezensionen
83 von 87 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8a91ddd4) von 5 Sternen Nice Hardback Anthology of Great Noir Fiction. 23. Juli 2004
Von mirasreviews - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a nice compact hardback edition of Dashiell Hammett's five novels, which he wrote between 1929 and 1934. A veteran of Pinkerton detective agency in several cities, Hammett turned his intimate familiarity with crooks, low-lives, and the seedier side of life into hard-boiled, hard-hitting detective stories. This was a time when urban corruption was the rule, and private detectives, journalists, and police officers shared information. Two of these novels, "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Glass Key" are American classics. Another, "The Thin Man", inspired one of Hollywood's best-loved movie franchises. Hammett's novels lift the veil of propriety from the subcultures in which they take place, laying bare violence, corruption, and pervasive cynicism. But they're not dreary. The sharp prose crackles, and the heroes stand apart from the corruption while swimming in it, steadfast in their own codes of conduct, their iconoclastic ideologies rooted securely in realism. These five novels all appeared as serials in magazines prior to being published as novels. "The Thin Man" appeared first in "Redbook", the others in "Black Mask".

"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.
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HASH(0x8a91df24) von 5 Sternen Classic crimes 7. September 2003
Von EA Solinas - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
He's known best for the creation of Sam Spade and the Maltese Falcon. But Dashiell Hammet was responsible for a lot more -- the hardboiled crime novel as we know it today, with femme fatales, charmingly sinister crooks and cynical antiheroes.
"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.
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HASH(0x8af9927c) von 5 Sternen A vivid view of the depression and prohibition eras 25. Juli 2002
Von Neal Reynolds - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I have reviewed each of these books separately. Having them all together in one volume is invaluable. And reading these consecutively is hardly boring, because there's a world of difference between them.
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.
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HASH(0x8a91dd8c) von 5 Sternen Fascinating Mysteries 15. März 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Dashiell Hammett's novels have fascinating mystery plots and the essential elements of film noir: dangerous dames, wise-cracking "ops" (= operative = P.I.), cagey crime orgasnisers, and trigger-happy "muggs".
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."
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x8af993cc) von 5 Sternen The Great Hammett 5. Juni 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Wow. Finally the publishers are making what needs to be made more often.
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...
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