So you think you have read everything by the master of detective fiction, huh? Just when you thought the well was dry and there was no more from the pen of this quintessential wordsmith there comes a collection of some of the best short stories that Hammett penned in his short, bright writing career. One of the interesting things about this collection is the broad display of characters. When one thinks of the literary writing of Dashiell Hammett, the Continental Op immediately comes to mind. Here in Nightmare Town, you will be introduced to a variegated display of fictional characters.
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Preview — Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett. Nightmare Town The Continental Op 2. Colin Dexter Introduction. William F.
Nolan Goodreads Author Introduction. Introduced by Colin Dexter, one of England's greatest writers of detective fiction, here are twenty long-unavailable stories by Dashiell Hammett, the author of The Maltese Falcon and one of the finest writers of the twentieth century. In the title story, a man on a bender enters a small town and ends up unravelling the dark mystery at its heart. A woman confronts the brutal Introduced by Colin Dexter, one of England's greatest writers of detective fiction, here are twenty long-unavailable stories by Dashiell Hammett, the author of The Maltese Falcon and one of the finest writers of the twentieth century.
A woman confronts the brutal truth about her husband in the chilling story, The Ruffian's Wife. His Brother's Keeper is a half-wit boxer's eulogy to the brother who betrayed him. The Second Story Angel recounts one of the most novel cons ever devised. In seven stories, the tough and taciturn Continental Op takes on a motley collection of the deceitful, the duped, and the dead, and once again shown his uncanny ability to get at the truth. In three stories, Sam Spade confronts the darkness in the human soul while rolling his own cigarettes.
And the first study for The Thin Man sends John Guild on a murder investigation in which almost every witness may be lying. In Nightmare Town, Dashiell Hammett, America's poet laureate of the dispossessed, shows us a world where people confront a multitude of evils.
Whether they are trying to right wrongs or just trying to survive, all of them are rendered with Hammett's signature gifts for sharp-edged characters and blunt dialogue.
Hammett said that his ambition was to elevate mystery fiction to the level of art. This collection of masterful stories clearly illustrates Hammett's success, and shows the remarkable range and variety of the fiction he produced. As a novelist of realistic intrigue, Hammett was unsurpassed in his own or any day.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 9th by Picador Books first published More Details Original Title. The Continental Op 2. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Nightmare Town , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Nightmare Town. May 27, Evgeny rated it really liked it Shelves: crime-and-mystery.
I have to admit I can be slow at times. I consider Dashiell Hammett to be one of the best noir writers as well as practically the father of the genre. Imagine my surprise when I realized there are 3 short stories featuring Sam Spade as well as few with Continental Op I have not read yet.
This book has all with the former one and several of the latter. My library happened to have the book. I immediately ran ou I have to admit I can be slow at times. I immediately ran out to get it. How fast did I run? Let me just say I outran a couple of these guys: And so the book consists of 20 novellas showing different sides of Hammett's writing talent. I will discuss the ones worthy of notice. Nightmare Town.
A guy ended up in a town that can give Personville aka Poisonville from Red Harvest a good run for the money when it comes to corruption. I have no doubt some ideas were later reused in what I consider to be the best ultra-violent noir crime novel.
House Dick. Hello Continental Op! The guy took an easy job as a house dick. That is it was easy until multiple murders took place. The nameless Continental Op was hugely influential despite his lack of a name. Let me introduce the following exhibit: Night Shots.
The Continental Op was hired to find out who shot at a rich guy confined by a bed because of his sickness. The moment the man arrived the lead began flying around non-stop. Zigzags of Treachery. The Continental Op was tying to clean up a name of a widow accused of murdering her husband.
I always say when it comes to double-crossing in modern literature nobody surpasses Glen Cook of The Black Company fame. Reading this story made me think he cold have been a pupil of Dashiel Hammett: here back-stabbings were plentiful and impressive. Death on Pine Street. The Continental Ops was hired to find a doctor's killer as the police had no luck with its investigation.
The guy did the job while getting beat up and narrowly avoiding a false accusation of rape. Afraid of a Gun. A gangster would get into a state of sheer panic the moment he saw a gun pointed at his direction. As it can be easily guessed he was not very successful at his job. Tom, Dick, or Harry. The Continental Op was hired by an insurance company to find stolen jewels. This mystery can be qualified as a "closed room mystery". It is probably the most peaceful of Continental Op stories.
One Hour. It took the Continental Op exactly this much time not only to solve a murder, but also getting thoroughly beaten up: effective work all around.
Who Killed Bob Teal? A promising young operative from Continental Detective Agency was killed and this fact pissed of the head of the local branch.
The Continental Op to the rescue! The main idea of the plot was lately reused in Maltese Falcon, so it is possible to figure out the mystery almost right away. A Man Called Spade. Enter Sam Spade. A guy hired him for a protection, but was killed before Spade got to see him.
So Spade decided to stick around to check how official investigation is going and beat the police to the solution. Too Many Have Lived. Sam Spade is hired by a rich guy to find out what happened to the husband of a woman he was in love with.
Spade delivered. During his investigation Spade posed an investor from Australia to gain access to an eccentric rich guy with several relatives patiently waiting for him to meet the Maker. This act resulted in several people being murdered.
Nightmare Town: Stories
Review by Robert Weibezahl. Dashiell Hammett wrote fiction for only 12 years, but in addition to four novels he produced hundreds of short stories for pulp magazines such as Black Mask and mainstream periodicals like Collier's and The American. Twenty of these stories, long unavailable, are collected in Nightmare Town. Overall these are not Hammett's best stories, but there is much to recommend them, not least of all Hammett's often imitated but rarely equaled prose style, marked by its oddly poetic cynicism. Crisp dialogue, peppered with the street argot of the '20s, keep the stories moving along at a good clip. Corruption, duplicity, and deception are rife. Some of the more enjoyable selections are novella-length, a form that was common to the pulps and at which Hammett excelled.
Review of Nightmare Town by Dashiell Hammett
However, the setting is no adventure story environment, but according to Panek, a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah , "Izzard is the city in the desert whose iniquity leads to its own destruction. Hammett had hit upon a theme which he would develop in subsequent work, such as Corkscrew and his acclaimed novel, Red Harvest Hammett's work moved away from the drawing-room detective of the "Golden Age" of English detective fiction exemplified in the work of Arthur Conan Doyle , Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie. Steve Threefall accepts a bet with a hotelier in Whitetufts that he can drive a friend's Ford non-stop across the desert with no supplies but liquor. After two days driving, he careens through the main street of a desert boom town named Izzard, Arizona.
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