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Dashiell Hammett: Five Complete Novels

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,429 ratings  ·  129 reviews
The five novels that Hammett published between 1929 and 1934 are collected in one volume: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man.
Leather Bound, 726 pages
Published 1965 by Avenel Books
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Sarah Monette
I'm gonna be honest right up front and say that my favorite of these novels is The Thin Man. I read the others with interest, but I'm unlikely to read them again. The Thin Man may get added to my stack of comfort reading. (I think it's not a coincidence that nobody made more Sam Spade movies, but Nick and Nora had a very long life in Hollywood, even if in warped form.)

So. Dashiell Hammett, generally considered the founder of the hard-boiled mystery genre. Having read his novels, my feeling is th
Jul 30, 2008 Gail marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Another San Fran impulse purchase. But come on, how many times can you buy a book from City Lights? I HAD to pick something up there, and I thought it was only appropriate to pay homage to a fella who not only left his mark on detective/crime writing but who also made the city such a huge part of his novels. (We actually ate at John's Grill - one of the settings in Maltese Falcon - while we were there - it was SO good!)
Dashiell Hammett only wrote five novels in his lifetime and they were conveniently all put together in this collection. I was a bit disconcerted when I started "Red Harvest" which was the first because it was written in that "hard-boiled detective" genre that I am only used to seeing in a spoof setting. I only got a little mixed up with the slang and it took me a couple of chapters to figure out that a "twist" was another name for woman.

That being said I really enjoyed the books. The mysteries w
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.
M. Fenn
Writing this as I read each novel.

The Thin Man: rollicking, witty fun. As great as the film. 5/5
Red Harvest: outstanding masterwork of detective fiction, possibly an influence for Kurosawa's Yojimbo; definitely influenced many. Fantastic. 5/5
The Dain Curse: lots of in and outs with this one. I liked it but not as much as THM and RH. It bogged down a little for me near the end. Gabrielle just wasn't very interesting. 4.5/5
The Maltese Falcon: It's funny (to me). Even though I prefer the 1931 film
When I finished The Dain Curse, I had read all of Hammett’s novels at some point of my life. As noted below, they are not great novels, but great reads. The characters are unusual and lively, and for the most part the plots are twisted and always surprising. The primary detectives seem to possess a grim morality – it feels like they are begrudgedly moral. It’s not a happy morality, or one that they seem to believe in. It’s more of a street code or sense of honor that they feel they must live up ...more
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
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
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
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
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 cli
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
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

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
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.
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 ([]) 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
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
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
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
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!

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
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  • Chandler: Stories and Early Novels
  • Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s & 40s
  • David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s and 50s
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Selected Stories
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction
  • The Sheltering Sky, Let it Come Down, The Spider's House
  • 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
  • Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories
  • Novels and Other Writings : The Dream Life of Balso Snell / Miss Lonelyhearts / A Cool Million / The Day of the Locust / Letters (Library of America)
  • Novels, 1967-1972: When She Was Good / Portnoy's Complaint / Our Gang / The Breast
  • Early Novels and Stories
  • The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence
  • Novels, 1930-1935
  • The Moving Target
  • Novels, 1944-1953
  • I Married a Dead Man
  • The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps
  • Collected Novels
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 about Dashiell Hammett...
The Maltese Falcon The Thin Man Red Harvest The Glass Key The Dain Curse

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