The Novels of Dashiell Hammett
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Novels of Dashiell Hammett

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,288 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Includes: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man.
Hardcover, 726 pages
Published September 12th 1965 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1965)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,157)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
RØB
Jan 30, 2013 RØB rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Absolutely Everyone.
RED HARVEST - started 03/01/2010, finished 03/12/2010. Amazing! This is sort of the granddaddy of the hard-boiled detective stories, as I understand it. These stories, while well-rooted in the mystery/detective fiction genre, actually seem to owe more debt to medieval tales of morality and heroism, as well as gritty western dramatic literature. A lone hero blows into a dusty town that is not what it appears, interacts with all manner of seedy and interesting characters, and acts out of questiona...more
Mohammed
I have read before Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.

I just read for the first time The Glass Key which dosent have the rep of Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon but i found it to be almost his best, great lead character in Ned Beaumont. It is really a companion piece to Red Harvest because its also set in a small town ruled by corruption and political corruption instead of outright criminal gangs. I like how matter factly Hammett explores a social ill like that one. This time there...more
Rick
Hammett is credited with inventing the modern crime novel, noted for its gritty realism, punchy and sardonic dialogue, and frankly depicted violence. Hammett wrote all five of these seminal novels in a very brief period, beginning in 1927 and completing The Thin Man in 1933. He lived another 27 or so years and didn’t publish another novel or much else beyond some journalism and movie treatments. Illness, alcoholism, politics, and, one suspects, success are to blame. Red Harvest is the story of t...more
Zakariah Johnson
More like a 5-plus, this little volume contains three of the best novels ever written in any genre--Red Harvest (1929), The Maltese Falcon (1930), and The Glass Key (1931)--and two disjointed, rambling narratives--The Dain Curse and The Thin Man--not really worth reading other than to complete your survey of Hammett's work. In the order listed, the classic novels also contain three of the most iconic figures in literature--the unnamed "Continental Op," who served as the inspiration for Toshiro M...more
John
I'm not sure if this was the first book I ever bought myself with my own paycheck (as a 15-year-old theater usher), but it was one of the first and is certainly the oldest one I still own. I picked it up again recently after exchanging tweets with Hannah about this piece in The Toast, and decided to reread The Dain Curse, the Hammett novel I remembered least well. In my memory it was weirder than it is -- I suspect the phony-occult aspects stood out more because they seemed so unusual to me then...more
Mark
The five stars is for Red Harvest. The rest (aside from Falcon) I can live without. Red Harvest is a revolutionary novel that more or less invented hardboiled detective fiction. Other lesser writers like John Carrol Daly had their own hardboiled dicks but Hammett was the real deal: a Pinkerton op who had seen the sleazy side of corporate greed and dedicated the rest of his life to criticizing it in his fiction and as a member of the Communist party. Hammett's intelligent use of detective fiction...more
Nayla
Any of these books make a good read, but they aren't fine literature in the sense that Raymond Chandler is fine literature. Hammett's first psychological novel, "The Dain Curse," is over thought, but compelling, while his second attempt, "The Thin Man," falls all over itself and the random tawdriness of the protagonists distracts from the plot at large. Lots of red herrings, none of which are remotely compelling. Hammett's Sam Spade has half the soul of Chandler's Marlowe and a quarter the soul...more
Valerie
Hammett is a master of the genre. I like his prose better than the other father of hardboiled crime, Raymond Chandler. It's nice, straight-to-the-point, and unadorned, though it avoids being staid or boring. There's a nice energy to it. I wasn't as impressed with The Dain Curse or The Glass Key, but Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man are all excellent.
Mark Mallett
I'd put the five Hammett novels into two tiers: at the top, and in best-first order, are Red Harvest, the Glass Key, and The Maltese Falcon, and next down are The Dain Curse and The Thin Man. The Thin Man is the weakest, I think, because of its semi-serious assortment of oddball characters and situations. Don't get me wrong, it's still a mighty fine book. The first three are 5-star all the way.

Even reading these for the first time I feel various degrees of familiarity, not only because I've seen...more
Ron Bird Jr
Being with out a computer for the last two weeks has given me some time to catch up on some reading. I was looking forward to reading this book and was not let down.

Mr Hammett is the master (in my mind) of the Hard boiled Detective story which became the image of Film - Noir. These stories were all written from 1929 to 1934.

The first story Red Harvest is to this day one of the highest body count American stories has aged well and will to this day keep you on the edge asking for more.

Next, we get...more
Tony
Hammett, Dashiel. RED HARVEST. (1929). ***.
This was Hammett’s first novel, and featured his protagonist, the un-named Continental Op. There have been copycats down the years – e.g., Bill Pronzini and his “nameless detective” – but Hammett got away with this all through his writing career with short stories for the pulps, particularly “Black Mask.” In this novel, our detective from San Francisco goes to a western town and ends up taking on the job of cleaning it up. Everyone in the town in any...more
Nikki
Right now, I'm just reading Red Harvest for an online book discussion, but will probably get to the others at some point.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett was the first novel featuring The Continental Op, a detective working for a concern not unlike Hammett's own former employer, the Pinkertons. The Op's name never appears, but his voice is distinctive. However, I still felt I didn't quite understand his character by the end of the book.

The Continental Op arrives in Personville (a thinly-disguised...more
Mike
My only previous experience with Dashiell Hammett (apart from the classic films made from his movies) was a short story featuring The Continental Op. I was a little surprised at the amount of dry wit that was mixed among the wisecracks - some of the humor is very nuanced. I also found his style to be more streamlined and plot driven in comparison to someone like Raymond Chandler who seemed to be more about style than plot coherency. Mr. Hammett sets the scene with concise bits of description, hi...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jul 03, 2013 Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) marked it as neglected_deprived_and_languishing  ·  review of another edition
Red Harvest
Date I read this book: July 2nd, 2013
★★★

*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Golden Summer (May-September 2013)

The Continental Op has arrived in Personville, being sent by the Continental Detective Agency's San Francisco office for their new client Donald Willsson. After setting up their meeting, but before the arranged time, Donald Willsson is killed. The Continental Op approaches Elihu Willsson, Donald's father, to try to get to the bottom of his...more
Dia
I'm surprised Goodreads doesn't have a cover image for this book, as there is a recent edition of it. My copy is from 1967 and has wonderfully thick, soft, cream-colored pages. I read the stories in order of descending merit, as judged by a seemingly knowledgeable Amazon reviewer, and I mostly agreed with his judgements. I thought The Glass Key better than The Maltese Falcon, followed by Red Harvest, The Thin Man, and The Dain Curse.

As a big fan of Raymond Chandler, who was a fan of Hammet's, I...more
sarah
I don't know that I've ever read five novels by one person back-to-back in this fashion, but it does shed some interesting light on the development of Hammett's style.

1. Red Harvest: the first Continental Op novel and a great one at that; the plot twist of the Op having to clear his own name is particularly inventive.
2. The Dain Curse: Absolutely brilliant. The things left unsaid, and their implications, are more powerful than most anything else Hammett has written.
3. The Maltese Falcon: A clas...more
Taka
Half-boiled--

I only read Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon in this collection, and thought they were mediocre stories written in clumsy prose at best.

Red Harvest was too melodramatic for my taste with too many murders, its narrative momentum relying solely on the plot that gets repetitive and exhausting after a little while. I didn't understand all the kudos it got on Amazon, not to mention the place it received in TIME 100 Best English-language Novels because it was purely plot-driven without...more
Jeff
The father of American hard-boiled detective fiction, Hammett is definitely worth the read. A combination of intellectual suspense and hard-hitting action, his works continue to enthrall. “The Maltese Falcon” is a true classic that is even better than the film, as hard as that is to image. “Red Harvest” keeps on engaged by the non-stop action and cunning tactics of its hero, the perpetually unnamed Continental Op. “The Dain Curse” is one of the greatest mystery novels ever, with surprising plot...more
Wayland Smith
This was an amazing collection of crime novels. Hammett really set up a lot of the genre. There are themes in these stories you'll recognize if you read crime fiction today. The man was a master well ahead of his time.

This is five novels in one book, so it takes a while to get through, but it's so very worth it.

Strongly recommended to fans of mysteries, crime fiction, or people who just want to get some perspective on how a whole style of stories got their start.
Rob
Aug 23, 2007 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pulp fans, historians of 20th century U.S. lit
Shelves: 2007
John ([http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15...]) sent me home from Baltimore with this and Raymond Chandler as my "homework". "You think you can set up half your novel as a murder mystery and you haven't ready any Hammett? What about Chandler? What is wrong with you!?"

You get the picture.

Having read them, I can see why John sent me home with these two particular authors. The pulp environment in which they wrote (Chandler more so, from the look of things) probably forced their respective hands a...more
Riju Ganguly
It was no marketing agent, but the caustic wit of Raymond Chandler that had found that particular epithet to describe dashiell Hammett, because only he could keep on writing certain things consistently for a considerable period withour anyone ever being able to write like him (Hemmingway did, but he belongs to another universe altogether). The novels included in this collection have been characterised as the epitome of hardboiled mystery, and have been accepted as literature that can belittle ma...more
Scott
He wrote five novels in only a few years in the 20's and 30's, yet lived to 1961 (serving in the Aleutians in WWII!). After getting hooked from a short story in #123, I read them all. Red Harvest and Dain Curse were just too bizarre and sprawling. Maltese Falcon was better but my favorite was Glass Key with the hero being a fixer for a political boss rather than a detective. Thin Man was a bit too refined. But the really cool thing about his writing style was how cinematic it was. You could take...more
S.D.
The debt hard-boiled writers owe Hammett has been repaid by the improvements of Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald, yet none have written a novel to match Red Harvest. Ostensibly a detective story featuring the nameless Continental Op, it dissects the inherent nature of greed and the myth of “Pioneer Spirit.” The examination is, to the say least, substantially brutal in its conclusion. The story itself proved immensely universal as well, being adapted for film by Kurosawa (Yojimbo) and Leone (A...more
Alice
Picked up this anthology because the author, Dashiell Hammett, was a character in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, Locked Rooms.

In every book in the Laurie King series, there is a literary tie-in. In this case, the two detectives, Holmes (fictional detective) and Hammett (true-life detective and author), supposedly met as they worked on the case of Mary's murdered parents. Enjoyed seeing how the influence of Holmes' detective methods is illustrated in the real crime stories of Hammett!

H...more
Jim
The Red Harvest

I intended to like this book, but it was very disappointing. In 142 pages, 24 people are murdered which leaves little for character development or sense of place. The story was set in Butte, Montana, a city rife with corruption, apparently. But the book could have been set anywhere like Santa Monica or NYC. An occasional mountain popped out, but it could have been anywhere.

The noir dialogue was maintained, “I walked into a room and waited for my unfriends to show up.”

Because the n...more
Colleen
I read dashiell Hammet a long time ago, and was struck by how easy his writing style seemed to be. Very terse, to the point. He's an incredible writer. I don't remember the books so well now, since it's been at least ten years since I read most of them. But I have a few lingering memories: the woman in Red Harvest, Dinah: a perplexingly beautiful woman in a not so neat way, who drank a lot. I remember the description of her stockings and how the line up the back of her legs was always a zigzag m...more
Donald
Well, of the five, two are masterpieces - The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man! The other three are really good tales, two of which star the Continental Op, who happens to be a favorite of mine. I mean what's not to like? A self-described over weight detective whose name we never learn! Anyway, the first novel, "Red Harvest" is an Op tale and one that gets super complicated, super quick! A whole host of gangsters want to run Personville, or Poisonville as the locals call it, and the Op runs a muc...more
Katie
I don't know if it always happens that what you read/see first, is the one you like better. But I like the movie versions of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man better than the books. The Red Harvest didn't even seem much like a mystery novel, as the others do, not least because Humphrey Bogart is in the former. I thought Nick and Nora were much more likable in the movie than the book; Asta adds more humor in the movie version, too. I did kind of like The Dain Curse; it reminded me of The Big Sl...more
Scott
The master of noir and the man all others are compared to. This is the quintessential collection of Hammett's stripping away the sunny layers to show the seedy underbelly of the time we tend to think of as "the good old days". Hammett's antiheroes and plot twists set the stage for everything that came after. The others are famous and bear no real surprises, but The Red Harvest is a violent revelation of Hammett's dark genius as the chaos of gangwars rip-apart a small town as bootleggers and the...more
Matthew
Having read Red Harvest some time ago, it was time to return to the next one in this collection. The Dain Curse proved to be a fun- if often over the top- classic of detective fiction. Though Hammett's writing is sharp and effective, it lacks a bit of the grittiness and emotional weight I've come to admire in the books of his successor, Raymond Chandler. Nonetheless, The Dain Curse was entertaining and executed well enough for me to overlook the somewhat zany, convoluted plot that linked what co...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 71 72 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Chandler: Stories and Early Novels
  • Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s & 40s
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Selected Stories
  • The Big Clock
  • McCullers: Complete Novels: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter / Reflections in a Golden Eye / The Ballad of the Sad Cafe / The Member of the Wedding / Clock Without Hands (Library of America #128)
  • Novels, 1930-1935
  • Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories
  • The Mike Hammer Collection: Volume I
  • The Way Some People Die
  • The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps
  • Novels and Stories, 1920-1922
  • Nightfall
  • I Married a Dead Man
  • Novels: The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence (Library of America #30)
  • Novels and Other Writings : The Dream Life of Balso Snell / Miss Lonelyhearts / A Cool Million / The Day of the Locust / Letters (Library of America #93)
  • And Four to Go (Nero Wolfe #30)
16927
Also wrote as Peter Collinson, Daghull Hammett, Samuel Dashiell, Mary Jane Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). In addition to the significant influence his nove...more
More about Dashiell Hammett...
The Maltese Falcon The Thin Man Red Harvest The Glass Key The Dain Curse

Share This Book