Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Dashiell Hammett

Expand Messages
  • MG4273@aol.com
    The Continental Op stories are terrific! Most of them have real puzzle plots, and very good ones - complex, original and imaginative. I agree with Wyatt that
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 3, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      The Continental Op stories are terrific! Most of them have real puzzle plots,
      and very good ones - complex, original and imaginative.
      I agree with Wyatt that the Continental Op tales have more in common with GA
      fiction than is often perceived. In general, think that most "real detective
      storioes" - stories in which a detective solves a mysterious situation - are
      closely related to each other. There is something about the "form" itself, the
      construction of a tale in which the hero logically solves a mystery - that
      encourages a deep common relationship among all true detective tales. In other
      words, the Continental Op stories, with their detective solving brilliant puzzle
      plots, are closer to Christie, Carr and Queen, than they are to such
      non-mystery "crime writers" as James M. Cain or Jim Thompson.
      The Op was often at his best in his short stories and novellas. "The Big
      Knockover", "The Continental Op" and the recent omnibus "Nightmare Town" are full
      of real detective stories.

      Mike Grost
    • vegetableduck
      Does anyone know whether ALL the unsigned reviews of individual mystey novels in the Saturday Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to Oct. 1929 are supposed to
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 22, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Does anyone know whether ALL the unsigned reviews of individual mystey
        novels in the Saturday Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to Oct.
        1929 are supposed to be by Dashiell Hammett?

        Thanks,

        Curt
      • vegetableduck
        Because if ALL the unsigned mystery reviews in the SRL in that period were by Hammett, he wasn t as hostile to traditional mystery as I have read. The
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 22, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Because if ALL the unsigned mystery reviews in the SRL in that
          period were by Hammett, he wasn't as hostile to traditional mystery
          as I have read. The comments about JJ Connington, Jospehine Tey, JS
          Fletcher, Ellery Queen, A Fielding (that's for you, Jon!)--SS Van
          Dine--were not unremittingly hostile, and in some cases were
          favorable.

          Curt

          --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "vegetableduck" <cjevans@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Does anyone know whether ALL the unsigned reviews of individual
          mystey
          > novels in the Saturday Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to Oct.
          > 1929 are supposed to be by Dashiell Hammett?
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Curt
          >
        • Henrique Valle
          Curt, I guess you ve read the demolishing Hammet review of The Benson Murder Case - I can hardly imagine how it could have been more hostile! Based on the
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 23, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Curt, I guess you've read the demolishing Hammet review of The Benson Murder Case - I can hardly imagine how it could have been more hostile! Based on the faults Hammet has found with this one, I doubt that he would like any of the others. Anyway, I have not read the reviews you mention.
            Henrique


            ----- Original Message ----
            From: vegetableduck <cjevans@...>
            To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:35:06 AM
            Subject: [GAdetection] Dashiell Hammett as Book Reviewer


            Because if ALL the unsigned mystery reviews in the SRL in that
            period were by Hammett, he wasn't as hostile to traditional mystery
            as I have read. The comments about JJ Connington, Jospehine Tey, JS
            Fletcher, Ellery Queen, A Fielding (that's for you, Jon!)--SS Van
            Dine--were not unremittingly hostile, and in some cases were
            favorable.

            Curt

            --- In GAdetection@ yahoogroups. com, "vegetableduck" <cjevans@... >
            wrote:
            >
            > Does anyone know whether ALL the unsigned reviews of individual
            mystey
            > novels in the Saturday Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to Oct.
            > 1929 are supposed to be by Dashiell Hammett?
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Curt
            >






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • vegetableduck
            Yes, I know, but the review of The Canary Murder Case is favorable! Hammett was supposed to be the mystery reviewer for the Saturday Review of Literature from
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 23, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Yes, I know, but the review of The Canary Murder Case is favorable!
              Hammett was supposed to be the mystery reviewer for the Saturday
              Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to Dec. 1929. His reviews were
              unsigned, however. Some of the unsigned reviews have a clear
              Hammett tone to them, but others, like The Canary Murder Case one,
              seem surprising, if it's really Hammett. All I can find is that
              Hammett did over fifty book reviews for the SRL, I don't know if any
              books on Hammett give an actual list.

              Curt

              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Henrique Valle
              <vallehenrique@...> wrote:
              >
              > Curt, I guess you've read the demolishing Hammet review of The
              Benson Murder Case - I can hardly imagine how it could have been
              more hostile! Based on the faults Hammet has found with this one, I
              doubt that he would like any of the others. Anyway, I have not read
              the reviews you mention.
              > Henrique
              >
              >
              > ----- Original Message ----
              > From: vegetableduck <cjevans@...>
              > To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:35:06 AM
              > Subject: [GAdetection] Dashiell Hammett as Book Reviewer
              >
              >
              > Because if ALL the unsigned mystery reviews in the SRL in that
              > period were by Hammett, he wasn't as hostile to traditional
              mystery
              > as I have read. The comments about JJ Connington, Jospehine Tey,
              JS
              > Fletcher, Ellery Queen, A Fielding (that's for you, Jon!)--SS Van
              > Dine--were not unremittingly hostile, and in some cases were
              > favorable.
              >
              > Curt
              >
              > --- In GAdetection@ yahoogroups. com, "vegetableduck" <cjevans@ >
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Does anyone know whether ALL the unsigned reviews of individual
              > mystey
              > > novels in the Saturday Review of Literature from Jan. 1927 to
              Oct.
              > > 1929 are supposed to be by Dashiell Hammett?
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > >
              > > Curt
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • nzkpzq
              IMHO Hammett s short stories are generally much better than his novels. People who only know Hammett from reading The Maltese Falcon are in for a delightful
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 30, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                IMHO Hammett's short stories are generally much better than his novels.
                People who only know Hammett from reading "The Maltese Falcon" are in for a delightful surprise. Such novellas as "Nightmare Town" or "The Scorched Face" or "The Main Death" are really superb. They have some highly imaginative plots.

                Mike Grost
              • Vegetableduck
                I ve been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather disappointed in
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 30, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  I've been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather disappointed in The Thin Man, with those choppy chapters and the protagonist saying, let's have a drink every other sentence. Loved the film, however.

                  Curt

                  --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "nzkpzq" <MG4273@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > IMHO Hammett's short stories are generally much better than his novels.
                  > People who only know Hammett from reading "The Maltese Falcon" are in for a delightful surprise. Such novellas as "Nightmare Town" or "The Scorched Face" or "The Main Death" are really superb. They have some highly imaginative plots.
                  >
                  > Mike Grost
                  >
                • Xavier Lechard
                  Curt wrote: I ve been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather
                  Message 8 of 13 , Nov 30, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Curt wrote:

                    "I've been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short
                    story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather
                    disappointed in The Thin Man, with those choppy chapters and the protagonist
                    saying, let's have a drink every other sentence. Loved the film, however."

                    This criticism might apply to the whole first generation of hardboiled
                    writers, including Chandler. The hardboiled formula originated in magazines
                    and was thus better suited to short stories than novels; Authors had no
                    choice but to pad, muddle or find new ways. Hammett did all three. I for
                    once agree with Symons that his greatest achievement is "The Glass Key" as
                    it is the one where he finally found a balance between the hardboiled
                    approach and the requirements of the novel as a form. Interestingly, it was
                    also his farewell to the genre (Thin Man is a genre of its own but certainly
                    not hardboiled in the sense its predecessors were)

                    Friendly,
                    Xavier


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Vegetableduck
                    I don t know Xavier, I like the better Chandler novels better than the Chandler stories (Big Sleep is a Big Mess though--the fact that this is his preferred
                    Message 9 of 13 , Nov 30, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      I don't know Xavier, I like the better Chandler novels better than the Chandler stories (Big Sleep is a Big Mess though--the fact that this is his preferred book seemingly shows people really don't care about plot clarity). I'd put Farewell, My Lovely and The Lady in the Lake, at least, about at the top of the heap (need to read High Window). The first Hammetts seem quite weak to me--I can't see the praise Barzun gives Red Harvest. And I can't see the fuss over The Thin Man (the book). It seems to me the sort of thing that others, less heralded, were actually doing better at the time. The Maltese Falcon is hard for me to judge, I read it after seeing the brilliant John Huston scripted film and the film is all I can see (and hear) when I read the book now. I guess I need to give The Glass Key another go-round. Inconsistently, Symons praises it as the equivalent of any American thirties novel (I assume he is including mainstream authors like Faulkner and Steinbeck here), yet in the '92 edition of Bloody Murder he is dismissive of attempts to equate great crime literature with great straight literature.

                      Overall, I'm not too crazy about the Hammett style and it really wears out its welcome for me in a novel. I like some of the stories that have elements of detection and don't degenerate into mere slugfests. I'll say a few more words about them later on. I just finished The Scorched Face and agree it's one of the better ones (great last line revelation). His very eraly tales Arson Plus and Crooked Souls could have been plotted (if not actually written) by Freeman Wills Crofts.

                      Edmund Wilson was relatively kind to Chandler (though that didn't stop Chandler from insulting him) but compared Hammett's novels to comic strips (this surprised me, we mostly read about how Wilson blasted the Crime Queens). I guess mainstream critics weren't as ready to roll out the red carpet to Hammett's stripped, violent writing (they liked Hemingway, of course, but I think reading "The Killers", say, offers a qualitatively different experience from reading, say, "Red Harvest"). I suppose it is more "real" than Chandler, but, as I said before, I like Chandler's polish and artifice. It's interesting, by the way, that Symons loves Hammett so much, but compares books by much praised later writers like James Ellroy, I believe, to...comic strips.

                      Curt

                      --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, Xavier Lechard <lechardxavier@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Curt wrote:
                      >
                      > "I've been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short
                      > story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather
                      > disappointed in The Thin Man, with those choppy chapters and the protagonist
                      > saying, let's have a drink every other sentence. Loved the film, however."
                      >
                      > This criticism might apply to the whole first generation of hardboiled
                      > writers, including Chandler. The hardboiled formula originated in magazines
                      > and was thus better suited to short stories than novels; Authors had no
                      > choice but to pad, muddle or find new ways. Hammett did all three. I for
                      > once agree with Symons that his greatest achievement is "The Glass Key" as
                      > it is the one where he finally found a balance between the hardboiled
                      > approach and the requirements of the novel as a form. Interestingly, it was
                      > also his farewell to the genre (Thin Man is a genre of its own but certainly
                      > not hardboiled in the sense its predecessors were)
                      >
                      > Friendly,
                      > Xavier
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • Xavier Lechard
                      Living in a country where these writers are untouchable near-divinities, Symons harsh treatment of Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Derek Raymond and Andrew Vachss was
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 1, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Living in a country where these writers are untouchable near-divinities,
                        Symons' harsh treatment of Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Derek Raymond and Andrew
                        Vachss was one of the few things that (almost) saved "Bloody Murder" for me
                        when I first read it. Symons would definetely not have liked the "British
                        Noir" school that came to dominate the local crime scene in the next decade
                        - he actually foresaw its rise in the "Crystal Ball" chapter.

                        Re Hammett vs Chandler, I think the former had greater difficulties to
                        adjust his stories to novel length because of his refusal of any stylistic
                        or narrative ornaments whereas Chandler relied heavily on his virtuosity.
                        Also, Chandler was much more literarily conservative than Hammett, making
                        him more palatable to both a wide audience and literati like Wilson who were
                        not into avant-garde and "excessive" formal research.

                        Interestingly, Ellroy has often proclaimed his admiration for Hammett while
                        dismissing Chandler as overrated. He dedicated "Blood on the Moon" to
                        McDonald, however.

                        Friendly,
                        Xavier


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • luis molina
                        Try the Long Goodbye, that  IS a great novel ... From: Vegetableduck Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Dashiell Hammett To:
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 1, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Try the Long Goodbye, that  IS a great novel

                          --- On Mon, 11/30/09, Vegetableduck <praed_street@...> wrote:


                          From: Vegetableduck <praed_street@...>
                          Subject: [GAdetection] Re: Dashiell Hammett
                          To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Monday, November 30, 2009, 6:00 PM


                           



                          I don't know Xavier, I like the better Chandler novels better than the Chandler stories (Big Sleep is a Big Mess though--the fact that this is his preferred book seemingly shows people really don't care about plot clarity). I'd put Farewell, My Lovely and The Lady in the Lake, at least, about at the top of the heap (need to read High Window). The first Hammetts seem quite weak to me--I can't see the praise Barzun gives Red Harvest. And I can't see the fuss over The Thin Man (the book). It seems to me the sort of thing that others, less heralded, were actually doing better at the time. The Maltese Falcon is hard for me to judge, I read it after seeing the brilliant John Huston scripted film and the film is all I can see (and hear) when I read the book now. I guess I need to give The Glass Key another go-round. Inconsistently, Symons praises it as the equivalent of any American thirties novel (I assume he is including mainstream authors like Faulkner and
                          Steinbeck here), yet in the '92 edition of Bloody Murder he is dismissive of attempts to equate great crime literature with great straight literature.

                          Overall, I'm not too crazy about the Hammett style and it really wears out its welcome for me in a novel. I like some of the stories that have elements of detection and don't degenerate into mere slugfests. I'll say a few more words about them later on. I just finished The Scorched Face and agree it's one of the better ones (great last line revelation). His very eraly tales Arson Plus and Crooked Souls could have been plotted (if not actually written) by Freeman Wills Crofts.

                          Edmund Wilson was relatively kind to Chandler (though that didn't stop Chandler from insulting him) but compared Hammett's novels to comic strips (this surprised me, we mostly read about how Wilson blasted the Crime Queens). I guess mainstream critics weren't as ready to roll out the red carpet to Hammett's stripped, violent writing (they liked Hemingway, of course, but I think reading "The Killers", say, offers a qualitatively different experience from reading, say, "Red Harvest"). I suppose it is more "real" than Chandler, but, as I said before, I like Chandler's polish and artifice. It's interesting, by the way, that Symons loves Hammett so much, but compares books by much praised later writers like James Ellroy, I believe, to...comic strips.

                          Curt

                          --- In GAdetection@ yahoogroups. com, Xavier Lechard <lechardxavier@ ...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Curt wrote:
                          >
                          > "I've been wondering really whether Hammett might be better seen as a short
                          > story writer. The stories seem more sustained to me. I was rather
                          > disappointed in The Thin Man, with those choppy chapters and the protagonist
                          > saying, let's have a drink every other sentence. Loved the film, however."
                          >
                          > This criticism might apply to the whole first generation of hardboiled
                          > writers, including Chandler. The hardboiled formula originated in magazines
                          > and was thus better suited to short stories than novels; Authors had no
                          > choice but to pad, muddle or find new ways. Hammett did all three. I for
                          > once agree with Symons that his greatest achievement is "The Glass Key" as
                          > it is the one where he finally found a balance between the hardboiled
                          > approach and the requirements of the novel as a form. Interestingly, it was
                          > also his farewell to the genre (Thin Man is a genre of its own but certainly
                          > not hardboiled in the sense its predecessors were)
                          >
                          > Friendly,
                          > Xavier
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >











                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • LesBlatt@aol.com
                          I recently re-read a number of Hammett s Continental Op stories, which I m happy to see back in print again. I did a short review at
                          Message 12 of 13 , Dec 1, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            I recently re-read a number of Hammett's "Continental Op" stories, which
                            I'm happy to see back in print again. I did a short review at
                            _http://www.classicmysteries.net/2009/11/the-continental-op.html_
                            (http://www.classicmysteries.net/2009/11/the-continental-op.html) and I also have an audio podcast
                            review available there. I must admit I don't take them too seriously - I
                            think they're enjoyable stories in a genre that Hammett and others were
                            developing, and they're good enough to stand on their own.


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • LesBlatt@aol.com
                            I recently re-read a number of Hammett s Continental Op stories, which I m happy to see back in print again. I did a short review at
                            Message 13 of 13 , Dec 1, 2009
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I recently re-read a number of Hammett's "Continental Op" stories, which
                              I'm happy to see back in print again. I did a short review at
                              _http://www.classicmysteries.net/2009/11/the-continental-op.html_
                              (http://www.classicmysteries.net/2009/11/the-continental-op.html) and I also have an audio podcast
                              review available there. I must admit I don't take them too seriously - I
                              think they're enjoyable stories in a genre that Hammett and others were
                              developing, and they're good enough to stand on their own.



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.