Friday, November 22, 2013

Long-Hidden Dashiell Hammett Stories Reveal Another Side

Eddie Muller at the San Franciso Chronicle looks at the new book of stories by Dashiell Hammett.

“When Samuel Spade knocked on the door it swung open far enough to let him see the mutilated dead face of a woman.”

That’s the opening line of “A Knife Will Cut for Anybody,” the thin slice of a never-completed novel that will draw readers to this collection of previously unpublished stories by Dashiell Hammett, creator of Sam Spade and the sire of modern crime fiction. For aficionados of the genre, the unearthing of new Hammett stories is akin to Christians discovering an epilogue to the New Testament.
Although “The Hunter and Other Stories” contains many revelations, few of them — the above line one juicy exception — are of the hard-boiled variety that forged Hammett’s reputation.

In fact, this collection, compiled and edited by Hammett scholars Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett (the author’s granddaughter), presents compelling evidence that the writer longed to shed the constraints that came with that reputation. Some of these stories are among Hammett’s best, yet they were summarily rejected by editors craving more of the violent action and snappy patter that made the creator of “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Thin Man” a household name.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

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