As an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency Dashiell Hammett knew about sleuthing from the inside, but his career was cut short by the ruin of his health in World War I. These three celebrated novels are therefore the products of a hard real life, not a literary education. Despite - or because of - that, Hammett had an enormous effect on mainstream writers between the wars. Like his readers, they were attracted by the combination of laconic style, sharp convincing dialogue, vivid settings and, above all, the low-life, hard-boiled characters who populate the streets of his stories. Taking detective fiction out of the drawing-room, Hammett 'gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it', as Raymond Chandler said. In so doing, he left his mark on modern fiction.
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(210mm x 160mm x 20mm)
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UK Kirkus Review »
Hammett had a huge influence on crime writing in the interwar years. His incisive style and believable dialogue came not from a literary upbringing but from a career as a private investigator cut short by health problems incurred during World War I. Because of the gritty realism that imbues his novels, he was admired by readers and writers alike, earning praise from Gertrude Stein and Raymond Chandler (who claimed Hammett had 'given murder back to the kind of people that commit it'), among others. The Maltese Falcon, considered by many to be his best, first appeared in serial form in Black Mask magazine in 1929, and was published as a book the following year; it is celebrated for its evenly sustained tension and its colourful cast of characters. The Thin Man is perhaps his most popular for its witty portrayal of New York's sophisticated cafe society during Prohibition. In Red Harvest, Henry Neill's client gets poisoned in Personville, and he might just have been the last honest person in town. Crime novel lovers are in for a treat. (Kirkus UK)
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