Posts tagged The Thin Man

As promised, here are some of the books I found at the recent treasure hunt/book sale.  This will take a number of posts, but there’s no such thing as too much literature porn.  
That being the case, Hammett and Chandler are always a good place to start.  I found three Hammett classics: The Thin Man, Red Harvest and The Dain Curse.  Raymond Chandler contributed the aforementioned movie tie-in edition of The Long Goodbye.  Spenser scribe Robert B. Parker finished Chandler’s Poodle Springs manuscript.  And Joe Gores wrote a fictional treatment of the legendary Hammett’s career as a P.I. (Gores’ novel was the basis for the 1982 Wim Wenders film of the same name).
And that’s the first batch.  Much more to come. 

As promised, here are some of the books I found at the recent treasure hunt/book sale.  This will take a number of posts, but there’s no such thing as too much literature porn.  

That being the case, Hammett and Chandler are always a good place to start.  I found three Hammett classics: The Thin Man, Red Harvest and The Dain Curse.  Raymond Chandler contributed the aforementioned movie tie-in edition of The Long Goodbye.  Spenser scribe Robert B. Parker finished Chandler’s Poodle Springs manuscript.  And Joe Gores wrote a fictional treatment of the legendary Hammett’s career as a P.I. (Gores’ novel was the basis for the 1982 Wim Wenders film of the same name).

And that’s the first batch.  Much more to come. 

8 notes 

The 27th of May is so full of literary achievement, it ought to be a holiday.  Today is, most famously, the centennial of John Cheever.  While Cheever did not write crime fiction or noir, I’d like to think this blog supports great literature of all types.  Sometimes, I even read some of it.  If you’re a Mad Men fan, you will probably enjoy reading Cheever, one of the show’s influences.  But he also deserves to be read on his own terms.

I love short stories, and Cheever was a master of the form.  His 1978 anthology The Stories of John Cheever won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  I’ll be curling up with my copy and rereading some of my favorites from Cheever’s collection.  If you are unfamiliar with Cheever’s stories, I urge you to rectify this.  "The Enormous Radio" is one of his best.  

But this day is not without noirish significance.  The father (or grandfather, or godfather, or maybe uncle-in-law) of hardboiled crime fiction, Dashiell Hammett, was born on 27 May 1894.  I could rhapsodize over Hammett, but if you’re reading this, you probably know all about him.  If you don’t, go pick up The Maltese Falcon.  Or Red Harvest.  Or The Thin Man.  Or The Glass Key, or The Dain Curse, or anything by Hammett.

Pulp scribe Leslie Charteris was born on the auspicious 27th day of May.  Charteris had his centennial five years ago, but his birthday still deserves a mention.  Charteris invented The Saint and wrote a great many of his early adventures before turning the series over to other authors (who ghostwrote subsequent episodes so that all Simon Templar’s escapades bear Charteris’ name).  I don’t think Charteris is the literary equivalent of either Cheever or Hammett, but he’s damned fun to read.

8 notes 

malicherie asked: Have you read the Continental OP? I'm half way through and loving it!

I’ve read an anthology of Continental Op stories, yes.  And you’re quite right: the stories are brilliant. 

Dashiell Hammett is often credited with inventing hardboiled fiction, which Chandler then perfected.  Perhaps.  It’s true that no one can match Chandler’s facility for turning a phrase.  But Hammett should be relegated to simply serving as Chandler’s forerunner.

Despite their similarities (and the fact that Humphrey Bogart played them both), Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are very different characters.  Hammett created the earthy Spade, but also the plodding Continental Op—not to mention the zany Nick and Nora Charles.  Hammett was brilliant with such a range of characters, and it is unfortunate that this is overlooked.