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Wednesday 26 November 2014

‘The Hunter and Other Stories’ by Dashiell Hammett

Published by No Exit Press,
24 July 2014.
ISBN 978-1-84344-343-8

After 1934, when The Thin Man was published Hamett became a screen writer and stopped publishing his work. This book contains seventeen short stories and three screen stories. These are from his personal files and he probably never tried to sell them. There are two more that haven’t been reprinted in over 80 year, plus unpublished screen treatments. Hammett churned out stories to pay the bills, but it seems he would have liked to write for markets other than “pulp fiction.”

The editors, Hammett's granddaughter, a Hammett scholar and a biographer, have gathered them into four categories; Crime, Men, Men and Women and Screen Stories. The story notes provide details about where and when Hammett was when the pieces were written

If you are a confirmed Dashiell Hammett fan you will find this book interesting. This is a broad picture of Hammett's styles and his development as a writer.

For people who are familiar with Hammett as the creator of Sam Spade, the collection finishes with a lost Sam Spade story, A Knife Will Cut for Anybody.
There are only four crime stories in this book; The Hunter features a noir detective. The Sign of the Potent Pills uses a cowardly detective. The Diamond Wager is a Golden Age type mystery. Action and the Quiz Kid, possibly Hammett's last-ever story, is literary, more about character than plot.
Reviewer: Sue Lord

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 novels and stories had on film, Hammett "is now widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time" and was called, in his obituary in the New York Times, "the dean of the... 'hard-boiled' school of detective fiction."

He Died in 1961 in New York City.He also wrote as Peter Collinson, Daghull Hammett, Samuel Dashiell, Mary Jane Hammett.

Sue Lord originally studied Fine Art and Art History, her MA is in Creative Writing. She now, revues, teaches, mentors and script doctors. She lives in central London and Cornwall. Her favourite pastime is gardening.

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