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Crime Stories and Other Writings

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  440 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In scores of stories written for Black Mask and other pulp magazines in the 1920s and 1930s, Dashiell Hammett used the vernacular adventure tale to register the jarring textures and revved-up cadences of modern America. His stories opened up crime fiction to the realities of American streets and American speech. Now The Library of America collects the finest of them: 24 in ...more
Hardcover, 934 pages
Published September 10th 2001 by Library of America
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Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved absolutely every single short story collected in this book. Most of them (20 of the 24) feature Hammett's nameless Continental Op character, one of my favourite characters ever. The remaining 4 stories are all one-offs, with different characters in different locales. By far the most complete collection of Hammett short stories out there (especially the Continental Op stories). The retail price may be a bit steep, so I highly recommend buying it online.

Also included (I guess that's where
Orrin Grey
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
After reading The Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon, I decided to check this out and I ended up devouring the whole thing in every spare moment I had between reading slush and the billion or so other things I was working on at the time. Consider me a Hammett fan.
Ed [Redacted]
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great collection of short stories. I am a fan of Hammett's novels and his short fiction is nearly as good. I liked most of the stories but anything featuring the Continental Op is going to be at the top of the list.
Darryl Walker
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There's not a Mt. Rushmore of American private eyes but Hammett's Continental Op wouldn't be one of the faces on it if there was. That's because he's a modest, faceless everyman though he's hardly anonymous or devoid of personality. I prefer the Op over Hammett's more infamous creation Sam Spade. That probably puts me in the minority, but I don't mind. Spade is not a particularly nice guy, on the other hand the Op is a regular Jack-the-lad, his voice like that of an old friend's to the reader. E ...more
Rita Brinkerhoff
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
THE CONTINENTAL OP is so rad. Even maybe radder than Sam Spade, because the Continental Op is NAMELESS and short and stout and "unattractive", whereas Samuel Spade is all suave and a ladykiller.
Vikram Katju
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine collection of Hammett stories. The most notable (and most enjoyable) of these stories feature a bull dog of a detective called 'The Continental Op'. One particular issue pertaining to this collection of Hammett stories needs to be highlighted, and that is that the story 'This King Business' has been inadvertently mutilated by the publishers of this book. For more on this see:

New editions of this book may have had this issue fixed; for more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Danielle Hammett’s writing holds up almost 100 years later. His crisp, clean, lean prose was decades ahead of his time. He deserves as much credit as Hemingway for bringing the writing canon into the 20th century. Well worth reading. He could write a good short story, and not many can - which unfortunately doesn’t stop them from trying.

Robert Muller
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great collection, but it would be better if it had the complete set of stories Hammett wrote. A complete list of those stories is a missing piece as well--we don't know what we don't know :).
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's nearly impossible to give this series anything but a perfect score. Other than the small print which is needed to compile so much into a small, neat package, I can really never find complaints over the Library of America series. I adore Dashiell Hammet, so I was pretty certain I would enjoy this book. Some of the material was a re-read for me, but that is never a problem. Once you drop into Hammett's world it's pretty hard to want to leave. The Continental Op pieces are generally my favorit ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
I learned a lot about writing in these 900 plus pages. The short seems to suit Dashiell more than the novel and it only caught myself feeling over saturated with these stories once or twice. I think I liked the stories where he steps away from San Francisco and the Continental Op more, if only for the novelty. This includes stories like nightmare town and women in the dark. However the house on Turk street, a Continental Op story is great good example of how to play with form even in a tradition ...more
Apr 10, 2014 marked it as did-not-finish
I didn't finish this collection of short stories so I won't give it a rating, since it would be unfair to rate a book without knowing how good what I didn't read was. I read 7 out of 24 stories and they weren't bad but they were just okay. I didn't want to read 17 more stories if they were just going to be okay. And I'll admit I usually don't finish short story collections and I made it farther in this one than with most of the others I've tried to read. For most of the short story collections I ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: partial-read
I’m not a detective story aficionado. Over the course of my life, I’ve read most of Hammett’s novels, and one or two Chandler novels. This is a pretty narrow set.

I haven’t yet read all the stories in this collection. They are good. Duly entertaining and gripping. Like any mystery series, there are the sudden revelations by the Continental Op out of nowhere (The Golden Horseshoe) and many fortuitous escapes (The House on Turk Street).

I was worried when I started the stories. I figured out the f
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
So about 900 pages later I feel pretty confident I have a handle on Hammett, and for purposes of this blurb I'm going to compare him to the other titan of classic crime fiction, Raymond Chandler. Hammett is a lot less flowery and a lot less romantic than Chandler. He certainly has a good smart-assed tone and some great lines in that idiom, but Chandler beats him for sheer poetry and inspiration. However, Hammett excels in the nature of the mysteries themselves: the riddles to be solved and the w ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Revisiting the Continental Op stories. They all have at least one passage that is pure gold. Here's a paragraph from the story "Women, Politics and Murder":

"Alone in the library, I cocked an eye at the ceiling and considered the information that Lina Best had given me. But I soon gave that up - no use trying to guess at things that will work themselves out in a while. I found a book, and spent the next half-hour reading about a sweet young she-chump and a big strong he-chump and all their troubl
Pt Bunch
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Strickly as an entertainment, I might give 4 stars. As a book showing the development of Hammett as a writer, the book is exceptional. Dashiell Hammet is imperfect and this book offers stories which are awe inspiringly gorgeous and others which fall flat. Hammett quit writing because he felt he had begun rewriting stories he'd already done, telling the same stories over. I can see that in these stories. I can also see a bright, hard, sharp mind creating beautifully entertaining stories.
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't finish this before I had to get it back to the library, but the stories I read were all top-notch detective crime fiction, as hard-boiled as they get. Hammett was one of the founders of the American detective story, and although the first tale or two is weak, he quickly found his bearings. Entertaining tales of early 20th century city crimes with arson, murder, larceny, kidnapping and con games galore, Well worth a look-see.
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent collection of stories by Hammett. I think I've read all of his novels and I thought I had read all his short stories until I saw this volume. It has several stories that I haven't seen in any other anthology, including a unique two-parter about a criminal invasion of an island with a military them. A must for the Hammett "completist" or even just a real fan.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Now I know where all the old gangster/crime/mystery movies of the 30's and 40's got there ideas. Sure, some of the dialogue is cliched (to us)but it was how the people of the underworld of crime talked back in the late teens and through the 1920's. Classic pulp fiction with a bit more intellect behind it. An excellent short story collection!
Daniel DeLappe
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, short-stories
I've been meaning to read some Hammett forever and it was nice to finally get around to these short stories. It was good reading for the subway, but some of the prose in this was a little too mechanical for my taste. I expected more attitude and atmosphere.
Gabriel Valjan
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
He influenced Hemingway. Not the other way around. So said Gertrude Stein and I'm not inclined to argue with the lady. I've also read Richard Layman's Shadow Man and DH was both self-destructive and idealistic. The Hellman introductory essay in The Big Knockover is also worth reading.
Jane Mackay
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fell in love with the Continental Op.
Michael Carrier
Jan 17, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: dash-h
(10/23/12) This will finish off the rest of his writings. Should be enjoyable. 11/28/12 - did not get to finish before moving to Roanoke. Will check the library here. enjoyed it so far.
Rocky Curtiss
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a great writer.
Shaun Steven Struble
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
By far the best collection of short stories by Hammett. Even If there is overlap with some of the other collections, still worth it to grab this one.
Akiva Hirsch
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent crime fiction.
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
I'll just never find another Raymond Chandler....
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2012
Charles Novo
rated it liked it
Dec 10, 2014
rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2009
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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
More about Dashiell Hammett

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