Thursday, April 01, 2010

I just finished Crime Stories and Other Writings by Dashiell Hammett.

I've read Hammett's novels before, and enjoyed most of them (The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man being the exceptions), but never his short stories.  Hammett was known for being the best of the hard boiled/private eye school of writing that overthrew the "drawing room" style mysteries featuring the rich (in America) or upper class (in the UK) characters in mostly intellectual exercises and brought the "mysteries" back to being about crime and criminals.  But for all that, these stories have a remarkably similar feel to the Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories written in the previous century.  As they went on, the violence became more prominent and graphic, and they substitute the nameless Continental Op's (Hammett's detective of choice) knowledge of human motives and criminal habits for Holmes' minutiae based deductions, but the basic form and feel are there.

Quite enjoyable, though difficult to read one after the other.  They start to feel repetitive and overly familiar.  Best read in multiple sittings.

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