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Dashiell Hammett: Five Complete Novels: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,045 ratings  ·  178 reviews
Five Complete Novels: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man
Hardcover, 726 pages
Published August 5th 1980 by Avenel Books (first published 1942)
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Start your review of Dashiell Hammett: Five Complete Novels: Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man
I spent most of 2018 and 2019 reading Mid-20th Century North American Crime novels (about 275). I've gone back to my favorites for a 2nd, and sometimes a 3rd, reading. Why? Because after reading all 7 of Chandler's novels and The Annotated Big Sleep, most of Ross Macdonald's novels, dozens of "Hard Case" publications, much of Patricia Highsmith, Cornell Woolrich, etc., there are 2 Hammett novels that have just floored me during the third read. So here, Weakest to Best, is my new ranking:
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Library of America Volume N° 110 contains the following five Hammett novels:


1. Red Harvest (January 2011)

2. The Dain Curse (May 11, 2012)

3. The Maltese Falcon (March 2011)

4. The Glass Key (May 15, 2012)

5. The Thin Man (March 21, 2011)

I read all five of these novels between January 2011 and May 2012. They were fantastic, but I wasn't super engaged in review writing. I've hyper-linked to my individual reviews for your viewing pleasure. I might need to go back and review Red Harvest and fles
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jon Recluse
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, classics, noir
Red Harvest: 5 stars
The Dain Curse: 4.5 stars
The Maltese Falcon: 5 stars
The Glass Key: 4.5 stars
The Thin Man: 5 stars

Highly recommended
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
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is for The Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, and The Maltese Falcon.

I was surprised to learn that Hammett wrote only five novels and only one of them had Sam Spade as a character. He is credited with being the creator, or one of them, of the hard boiled detective figure. He is also, I read, considered to be one of the finest mystery writers ever. Well, I enjoyed the books but more from a historical perspective. The detectives were certainly heavy smoking, hard drinkers (always with a fla
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“The outcome of successful planning always looks like luck to saps.”

This collects all five of Dashiell Hammett’s novels. The first two feature an unnamed operative of the San Francisco office of the Continental Detective Agency. The third is Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, the fourth is a gangster/detective solving a mystery sort of for his boss, the crime lord who runs the town, and the fifth is Nick and Nora in The Thin Man.

It is possible that I have read some Hammett short stories before, b
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
The intricate and cleverly crafted plots play host to a bunch of interesting characters who operate, rather dubiously, in whiskey-drinking-hat-loving 1920-30s America. The best bit: the unaffected and sharp dialogue, packed with both cynicism and humor, spurned endless imitators—but none can out-match Hammett and his signature flair.
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, noir
Nicely bound collection
P.S. Winn
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dashiell Hammett is a go to author in the mystery genre. How great is it to find five books in one collection. Some of the tales are familiar and others more obscure, but all take the reader on a mystery ride.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Hard-Boiled, Noir, Period Detective Stories
Shelves: noir
Complete Novels
by Dashiell Hammett

There are five novels in this collection; Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key & finally, The Thin Man.

The first two feature the anonymous detective of the Continental Op Detective Agency. The Maltese Falcon features Sam Spade, The Glass Key "tells the story of gambler and racketeer Ned Beaumont". The Thin Man features Nick and Nora Charles, a pair of dipsomaniacs; Nick, a retired detective & Nora a wealthy heiress.

I was one page int
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
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rupert Dreyfus
I own this very book in hardback and have read it a couple of times. It's a very nice book with Bible-style pages. They are thin and prone to smudging so turn those pages carefully if you ever get yourself a copy.

Hammett is probably one of my favourite writers of dialogue. I once kept a journal, writing down all of the fantastic phrases I came across in an attempt to speak like one of his character. I've grown up since then (only by a couple of years though).

I someday want to write hardboiled
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't finished all of these stories, just "The Thin Man" and "The Maltese Falcon," but I would recommend getting the collection . . . The Thin Man was a quirky story (although a bit gimmicky). I really liked "The Maltese Falcon" quite a bit more. The pace was slower, with more narration and a bit less dialog, so the plot was a little easier to follow. I am in love with both protagonists, though if Sam Spade were real, he would win me over any day. The characters in the Maltese Falcon are GRE ...more
Jul 30, 2008 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!)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Some of the best detective fiction you can get your hands on.
David Absalom
Finally completed! Red Harvest and Maltese Falcon great. The Curse and Glass Key nothing to brag about. Thumbs down The Thin Man.
Red Harvest - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The first Continental Op novel is absolutely sensational! The Op is hired by a newspaperman in a local valley, but by the time he gets there, his client has been killed. Turns out this valley is so ripe with corruption that it's earned the name "Poisonville." The Op gets to the bottom of his client's murder, and then finds himself slowly but surely drawn in to the rest of the intrigue - and he vows to deal with it his way. Which he does, and it's absolutely brilliant.

I love hi
Mike Mikulski
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed these five Hammett "who-done-its" from the 20's and 30's. The characters are not as rich and dark as you find in Raymond Chandler stories. Hammett's carry more similarity to the novels of Agatha Christie. Both Hammett and Christie lay out a wide cast of characters surrounding a crime as the protagonist, Sam Spade, Ned Beaumont, Nick Charles etc., interacts with all of the suspects, solving the mystery in the final chapter. The difference is Hammett paints the scene with a noir brush in ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Red Harvest" and "The Glass Key" in the first week of this year.

In "Red Harvest", the Continental Op comes inland from San Francisco to a western mining town called Personville (loosely based on Butte, Montana, I see) on a request from a journalist who is murdered before they even meet.

Dashiell Hammett's settings often involve a town or city, control of which has been apportioned by a set of warring gangs, corrupt politicians and monopolistic industrialists. In this case, a wealthy indus
B.C. Deeks
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first story in this Dashiell Hammett collection, RED HARVEST, has lost nothing in the years since it was first published in the late 1920s! This is a hard-boiled, noir detective novel with gritty plot, tight prose and classic gangster characters like 'Whisper', Mickey, Lew Yard and the femme fatale who falls somewhere between dangerous bombshell and lost soul. The plot is also classic: a town Bigshot brings in gangsters to squash The People and ends up control of his town to those gangsters. ...more
Roberta Sallee
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I just read The Thin Man. It was for book club and in the collection was my quickest available way to get a hold of the book. I read it in one day (it was short) and really enjoyed it. I was amazed at the amount of drinking that went on.
Our book club discussion noted that he and his wife were both alcoholics and this was written just after Prohibition so there you go.
The story itself had a lot of characters and I never guessed the who of the whodunnit. (None of us did).
One of our clubbe
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one book collects all five of the detective novels he wrote between 1929 and 1934, during which time he pushed pulp fiction into its most conceptually pure and most literary manner. And, of course, during which time he set the templates for movies that has lasted for decades. The Maltese Falcon, of course, became a film noir classic. The Thin Man a classic of another type, the urbane, hard-drinking, wittily bantering husband-and-wife detectives. There are also two novels of the Continental ...more
Apr 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Short reviews of each book.

Red Harvest. A lot of shit happens and the protagonist drinks a lot and barely sleeps. By the time you get to the end you can barely remember why any of it started. Enjoyable but ludicrous.

The Dain Curse. My least favourite of the lot. Far fetched like Red Harvest but more development of characters. Reading this one was a slog for me.

The Maltese Falcon. This is peak Hammett. His characters now feel alive and real. He concentrates on less but gives you more. My favouri
Robert Scott
Finished Red Harvest 05/18, the Continental Op in Personville (Poisonville), CA. 05/21 The Dain Curse Continental Op again w/scientific escaped con father, warped step mother and strangely attractive, addicted & bewildered daughter. Also a religious scam. 05/22 finished The Maltese Falcon. Sam Spade is ruthless, frequently amoral and treats women like dirt, but solves crimes the police find baffling. 05/24 finished The Glass Key. Ned Beaumont also is a babe magnet as well as the deeper thinking ...more
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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

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