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Woman in the Dark

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,218 ratings  ·  116 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
...more
Paperback, 76 pages
Published July 17th 1989 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1933)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  1,218 ratings  ·  116 reviews


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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
Mark
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
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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
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Bettie


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
...more
Greg
BOOK 200 - Mid-20th Century American Crime Readathon - Round 9
I've began each round with Chandler and ended each round with Hammett. I was surprised to find this on the library shelves as I didn't know it existed. In the introduction, Robert B. Parker says "To my eye the happy ending seems a bit forced...it led him into a swamp that nearly drowned him in 'The Thin Man'.
HOOK - 3 stars: >>>Her right angle turned under her and she fell. The wind blowing downhill from the south, whipping the trees
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Michael
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
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notgettingenough
You've got to laugh at the academic industry - this book is as thin as they come, but it warrants an academic introduction because? It's hard to answer that. It doesn't deserve one. It reads like something churned out for a pulp and that's just what it was.

Hammett is an important writer, but I don't think that means we have to behave as if every time he wrote out a shopping list posterity was the winner. Save your limited reading time on this earth for something else.

I did, by the way, put it o
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Alex
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
Jim
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.
Toby
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.
Danielle
Jan 10, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
What better way to start the new year than with a little hardboiled American crime from the virtuoso novelist Dashiell Hammett. I had just crossed paths with him in a very peripheral sort of way via Laurie King in her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mystery Locked Rooms (I still need to write about it), which is set in San Francisco and in which Hammett makes a cameo appearance and aides the pair in the solving of their most recent crime. The Woman in the Dark is really little more than a novella a ...more
Laura
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
Mike
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
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Aditya
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Matthew
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.
Kb
A well-written novella, featuring many of the tropes of crime fiction of the era. The art lies in the way it is written. We start in medias res, and the story is told from one woman’s point of view. We do not see what she does not see. It unfolds almost in real time, with contractions mainly for sleeping, waiting, and journeys, except at the conclusion where a slight trick of the narrative keeps motives hidden.
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.
N
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
He writes so beautifully. It's smooth and succinct and pretty vocabulary and a nuanced bad guy. I love him. This was a short read and a real pleasure.
Ralph
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
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Reid
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
Jim
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
...more
Erik
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The weakest Hammett novel, a hard-boiled romance written in the objective third person, which doesn’t work particularly well.
tortoise dreams
A fleeing young woman stumbles upon the home of a man recently released from prison, but all is not as it seems. Mystery Review: Woman in the Dark is subtitled "a novel of dangerous romance." I guess. More a long short story than a novel and the romance is on the rough and abrupt side, but what does one expect in 70 generously margined pages. It was originally a three-part magazine serial. Hammett's protagonists seem tossed on the sea of fate, knowing that there's little about life they can chan ...more
JerryDeanHalleck
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Basically an expanded short story, about 15000-18000 words, originally published in 3 parts in Liberty Magazine. Like Glass key, and The Thin Man , obviously written for sale to Hollywood. Hammett never gets inside anyone's head, everything is described objectively in 3rd person, like through a movie camera. No background for the characters or much description. I can't remember what the hero or heroine are supposed to look like, except she's young & pretty, and he's strongly built and can out f ...more
Sharon Ouderkirk
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: detective
This book was originally published in three parts, and functions now as a novella that could easily be read in one sitting. Despite the flat tone of the writing, the plot moves swiftly. Luise is the woman in the dark, who is running from her lover. She stumbles and hurts herself, and takes refuge in the home of Brazil, a claustrophobic ex-con (I pictured Jason Robards as Brazil). The lover comes after her, a skirmish ensues, and the lover's henchman is hurt, possibly fatally. Brazil can't stand ...more
Todd
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a quick read and, as such, feels more like an outline to a tale than a full story. There are a few beats that are missed and you just kind of go with it for the sake of continuing the plot. There’s a bit of a twist at the end that is not developed at all because this ends about 2 paragraphs later. All that said, this would be a good introduction to Hammett since you quickly get a sense for the kinds of characters and situations he creates.
Lynn
Dec 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Well this was effing terrible.

Do I no longer like Hammett's style? It's been probably over a decade since I've read anything by him, so that's entirely possible. But I seriously disliked this. The casual sexism & physical abuse was probably the main reason; though I also just didn't like the story itself.
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Susan
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Foreign woman Luise Fischer, walking in the dark arrives at a House. The home of Brazil, and his visitor Evelyn look after her.But then two man arrive. It appears that Luise has brought danger to Brazil.
An interesting story.
Another Hammett re-read
S Lacy
Jul 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I don’t have any sort of deeply opinionated dislike toward the book — but the reason I’m giving it one star is because from beginning to end I genuinely had absolutely no idea what was going on. Maybe if I had understood something — anything — I would have enjoyed it on some level.
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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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