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Woman in the Dark

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  990 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
On a dark night a young woman seeks refuge at an isolated house. She is hurt and frightened. The man and woman who live there take her in. But their decency is utterly unequipped to deal with the Woman in the Dark, or with the designs of the men who want her.

First published in installments in Liberty magazine and now rediscovered after many years, Woman in the Dark shows D
Paperback, 76 pages
Published July 17th 1989 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1933)
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Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of crime noir
Another Dashiell Hammett I had not read before and so it was happy times in reading this novelette, as the story does not cover many pages.

The story is about a lady who fell in with the wrong crowd and when she tries to leave her predicament she runs into whole new place of trouble. She is responsible for "Brazil" recent released from prison to get into trouble again. Sparkling dialogue, policemen that will not get any sympathy votes and the baddie of this story is as awefull as one can get with
Ed [Redacted]
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I actually had never heard of this "novel" until I saw it at the library while contemplating whether or not to grab "The Big Knockover". A tiny little book with the words "A Novel" on the cover. I am pretty sure there is no way this qualifies as a novel. It is about 76 pages which makes it something in the neighborhood of 25,000 words.

This...story was first published in installments in a pulp magazine in 1933. The next novel Hammett published was "The Thin Man" and he never published another nov

Description: On a dark night a young woman seeks refuge at an isolated house. She is hurt and frightened. The man and woman who live there take her in. But their decency is utterly unequipped to deal with the Woman in the Dark, or with the designs of the men who want her.

First published in installments in Liberty magazine and now rediscovered after many years, Woman in the Dark shows Dashiell Hammett at the peak of his narrative powers. With an introduction by Robert B. Parker, the author of the
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Claustrophobic ex-convict Brazil is on parole for a man slaughter sentence and is hoping never to go back behind bars again. All he has to do is stay out of trouble in his quiet cabin in the woods. Then a beautiful woman with a broken shoe stumbles through his door.
This was one of the last shorter stories that Hammett published before he walked away from crime writing. It's not his greatest bit of writing but still well worth a look. To be honest I much prefer the 1934 film version with Ralph Be
Nov 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his introduction, Robert Parker says that he thinks the happy ending of this book is forced. I disagree, and think that the ending is intentionally ambiguous, leaving room for a darker interpretation. In any case, why would you write an introduction to a book that gives the reader a low opinion of the ending before he's even begun reading the thing? Parker also goes on to suggest that "The Thin Man" was a bad book because Hammet had trouble writing about love. In short, what I took away from ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable but extremely slight (76 pp.) late novel by Dashiell Hammett has his trademark style and hardboiled attitude, but this is really a novella, if that. More like a long short story. It revolves around a kept woman escaping from her tormentor and the tough ex-con who tries to rescue her. It's always good to read Hammett, but this is decidedly a lesser work on many scores.
Barely a novella, let alone a novel of dangerous romance as it purports to be. This is a decent enough example of Hammett's storytelling style but immediately forgettable too such is the slightness of the concept and the obvious rush to completion.
A short but very intense novel by one the masters of the "roman noir."

4* The Thin Man
5* The Maltese Falcon
3* Nightmare Town
4* Secret Agent X-9
4* Who Killed Bob Teal?
3* Red Harvest
4* Woman in the dark
TR The Continental Op
TR The Return of the Continental Op
TR The Glass Key
TR The Tenth Clew
TR The Dain Curse
TR The Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels
John Culuris
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This particular work seems to defy classification. It is often listed among Dashiell Hammett’s novels, perhaps because it is subtitled “A Novel of Dangerous Romance.” Originally published in three parts in Liberty magazine in 1933, in my copy (Vintage Crime, 1989) and presumably in the Hardcover that preceded it, the publishers did everything possible to create a more substantial-looking book. There are generous bottom and right-side margins and the title of each of the three parts has its own t ...more
Oct 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
I am a big fan of Hammett's writing not simply because his world view appeals to me, but because his story-telling was superior, if not outright superb.

The man could whip up a mean tale that keeps you spellbound.

I read this book ages ago (along with many others that I have written about) and haven't done so recently, so it's probably time for me to treat myself to it once again.

It doesn't involve Sam Spade or Nick Charles, so the Hollywood fans of Hammett may not care for it, but those seeking w
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, mystery
This was another one I read partly for book research since Parker wrote the introduction to this edition. More longish short story than anything else, this is nevertheless a fun piece with at least some of the typical Hammett tropes. The two lead characters are an interesting match. Of note, this one can be read as certainly more romantic and perhaps, more hopeful than other Hammett work. Those looking for the black cynicism of the Continental Op will be in for a surprise.
John Grazide
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was a fun little story. First apparing as a three part series in 1933. But as is the case with most of Hammett's works, it is timeless.
An unexpeted metting puts two people together as they try to escape their situations. Along the way they realize they are alike and try to stay together, but others may have something to say about it.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
After too long an interval, Dashiell Hammett is back to being one of the flavors of the month, with not just his novels and pulp stories back in print, but also his early work (even vignettes written for humor and satire magazines) and his slim corpus of work for magazines less rough than the pulps. A case in point is "Woman in the Dark," a short novel or novelette serialized in three issues of the weekly Liberty Magazine in 1933. The high-circulation magazine was a better venue than the garish ...more
Jenni Lou
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
Yes, I read a lot. Quite voraciously, in fact. I often can’t wait to finish a book so I can start on another. This is the fourth or fifth book I have read this week. I read a few series so I haven’t composed any entries for those, as I will probably wait until I finish all the books that have been published in them so far.

Dashiell Hammett is one the prime writers of noir pulp fiction. Slightly minimalist but with a remarkable sight for detail, he crafts dark tales about shadowy characters and un
Loved 95% of this! Didn't know it existed until I found it today. The writing is as sharp and clear as in The Maltese Falcon, and the stakes are even higher, though it's a much shorter story and the ending is a bit too quick for full satisfaction. Loved how Hammett again used the big V to describe his protagonist, this time an ex-con named Brazil. Much of the action is described blow by blow, movement by movement, such that it often reads like viewing frames in a comic or graphic novel. This was ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
WOMAN IN THE DARK. (1933). Dashiell Hammett. **.
Although written and published in three consecutive issues of a pulp magazine, this novella was later published in hard cover by Knopf. This edition also contains an appreciation by Robert Parker – an appreciation I think he had a hard time coming up with. The story indeed should have been published in a pulp format. The plot was simplistic, and the motivations of the characters were at a primal level. It is essentially the story of a woman who was
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This short novel was serialized in three installments for Liberty magazine in April 1933. It is a strange sort of love story between an ex-con and a Swiss girl who had taken up with a local landowner with psychotic tendencies. While not quite at the level of his best longer fiction such as The Maltese Falcon, The Dain Curse, and Red Harvest, it makes for a good, if quick read.

Brazil, the ex-con, has claustrophobia and will do anything rather than find himself behind bars again. So he escapes wi
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have liked other works but Dashiell Hammett but this was not a particularly compelling plot. It seemed like it could have been part of a longer novel rather than a standalone work.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
A forgotten Hammett and one forgotten for a good reason. This feels like the first rough draft of a better book that never came to pass. Everything from plot to characters is rough around the edges and it is not just the brevity of the book that is to be blamed for it. It is not paced like a short story but like a bigger novella so even the ending feels rushed and abrupt. Rating - 2/5.
Eva Derzic
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
goddammit hardboiled fiction isn't supposed to have happy endings
Joel Mitchell
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This short novel, originally serialized in Black Mask, isn’t Hammett’s best, but it’s still a decent pulp story. Rather than Hammett’s usual detective, the protagonist is a convict recently released from prison. When his landlord’s mistress puts him in the middle of a messy domestic situation his newly regained freedom is threatened. Overall, a pretty typical Black Mask story worth reading if you’re into noir.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too thin, a little confusing, and resolved sloppily. The female lead was pretty well done though.
Printable Tire
I find it baffling when a book has an introduction that makes said book sound mediocre. "Here's a book by Hammett," Parker seems to say in the introduction here. "It's not his best, but it's not his worst. It's okay. Meh." Such true-minded introductions are certainly all fine and good, but I wish they came after the book so the reader doesn't go into it thinking, What's the point?

And you know what? Parker is right about this book. It's short and breezy and fast paced but ultimately hits a brick
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Woman in the Dark is the last novella Hammett wrote before he died in 1961. The sparse, witty dialogue, plot twists and and hardboiled characters he became so known for after basically inventing the hardboiled genre with the publication of his seminal work, The Maltese Falcon, are all here, but there is a tiredness in his writing that probably reflects the state of his life at the time. Diagnosed with TB after serving in the Army, he began drinking himself to death. Though he was a successful, f ...more
Ayleen Julio
Cuando uno ya ha leído las dos obras más importantes de Dashiell Hammett, es posible que este texto le parezca cualquier cosa por la falta de definición de los personajes y de lo que está pasando en la historia. Aunque por otro lado, hay que reconocer en ella la capacidad del autor para decir mucho con poco, artificio -por decirlo de algún modo- central en su narrativa, en la que no se le deja todo en bandeja al lector; sino que es éste quien tiene la tarea de atar los cabos sueltos.
Quizá este
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
I love the man, I do, but this novella is gutless and inchoate. It feels like it was written to pay off a debt: not the same species of abysmal, insatiable, halitoidal maw I like my Hammett written to appease. His beloved authorial amorality thuds more than it vertiginiously resounds in, say, the nihilistic and batshit Dain Curse. The hallmark snappy dialogue is inelasticized and somewhere Nick and Nora (Charles, not the annoying Apple-commercial-indie couple) shed private, single tears into the ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's the passage of time, some of the colloquialisms were so outdated that I couldn't readily understand them. Or perhaps this one isn't the finest example of Hammett's work, but this book failed to connect on many levels for me.

In these 75 pages, Hammett manages to convey the most basic character development. Motivations are clear and easy to grasp, but I can see why this was the only "Dangerous Romance" he ever tried writing.

Hammett fans probably loved it. As a fan of his screenplays
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This novella, serialized in the early thirties, was found in the late eighties and published as a stand-alone. Mildly diverting but not very plotted (it's all rather this-and-then-that-and-then-this until the end), it's easy to see why Hammett didn't bother to expand it into a full novel, and easy to see why Lillian Hellman didn't lump it into the various collections of Hammett's shorter work that were published. The most interesting thing here is the introduction by Robert B. Parker, in which h ...more
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, noir
This was a very short novel, took me maybe half an hour to read, and although it was definitely Hammettesque, I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed some of his other work. It's probably unfair to compare it to The Maltese Falcon, but I'm liking a lot of the stories in Nightmare Town more. It's got the same waaaay pulled out POV that Falcon did, but I think it's less effective here, because we're supposed to believe that the two main characters more or less want to run away together within five m ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was very pleased to find a Dashiell Hammett story I'd not read before as I just love his writing. This was really a long short story not a novel but it was still really great. It was written in three parts and was so visual I could see everything the characters did so clearly that it was like watching a play or seeing a film. It wasn't the most original of plots, a young woman tries to escape from the criminal who has her as his mistress but the characters seemed more real than most, especiall ...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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