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"Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op" Topic

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Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2017 8:15 p.m. PST

Penguin Books have published The Big Book of the Continental Op, a collection of short stories and serials written by Dashiell Hammett and originally published in Black Mask magazine. The "op" is an unnamed agent for the Continental Detective Agency (who are absolutely not the Pinkertons laugh). Two of the serials here would form the basis for Hammett's novels Red Harvest and The Dain Curse.

When the publisher labels the book "big", they aren't kidding; it's over 700 pages. Still, to fit in all the stories, they have resorted to a two-column format. Also, it is a paperback. It is nonetheless a treat to see the early works of the father of hardboiled detective fiction back in print.



PaulByzantios06 Dec 2017 8:45 p.m. PST

Ron, that's great news. I was first exposed to Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op my senior year at Northeastern University. Robert Spenser, the author of the Spenser series, was my professor in a course he named "The Novel of Violence". I was hooked and continued to read Hammett's writings after school.

He, like Robert E. Howard, was one of those writers who can draw you into a world with just a few words. I realized at the time that with the replacement of a few 1930's anachronisms (heroin addicts in place of Laudanum addicts for example) the books have a timeless appeal.

Vigilant07 Dec 2017 7:31 a.m. PST

Thanks. Will look out for that.

The Shadow07 Dec 2017 8:27 a.m. PST


You said that "Two of the serials here would form the basis for Hammett's novels Red Harvest and The Dain Curse". Just to clarify; the serializations of those two novels did not "form the basis" of the novels. Both of the novels were fully realized, but in serialized form in Black Mask. There were no additions or changes when they were published as novels.

Thanks for the "heads up". :-)

Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2017 9:07 p.m. PST

Re: Paul Byzantios -- Wow, cool. Wish I could have sat in on that class.

Re: Shadow -- Thanks for the clarification. I wasn't sure if the stories had been re-worked or not (The Shadow knows!)


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