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'An acknowledged literary landmark' Robert Graves

About the Author

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) was born in Maryland and worked in a number of menial jobs until he became an operative for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. His experiences as a private detective laid the foundations for his writing career. His work includes RED HARVEST, THE MALTESE FALCON, THE GLASS KEY, The Thin Man and some eighty short stories, mostly published in Black Mask magazine.


An unnamed detective arrives in Personville (nicknamed "Poisonville" by its residents) too late to help his client, who lies shot dead in an alley. It doesn't take the detective long to figure out that this murder is the least of Poisonville's problems, and he decides to stay and clean up the nasty company town on his own. Despite this somewhat confusing story line, Richard Ferrone provides lucid and compelling narration and perfectly captures Hammett's tough guy wit. His rendition of gangster Max "Whisper" Thaler is among the many highlights: he provides a voice that is clear but hoarse and totally lives up to the character's name. Ferrone also gives Whisper's girlfriend a classic bad dame voice that all but invites trouble, and provides corrupt police chief Noonan with a jovial Irish brogue that masks evil intentions. Although the tale is hopelessly convoluted and overpopulated, listeners will have great fun rooting for the unnamed detective to get out of town alive. A Vintage paperback. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow * INDEPENDENT *
He is master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer * BOSTON GLOBE *
Hammett's prose is clean and entirely unique. His characters are as sharp and economically defined as any in American literature * NEW YORK TIMES *
One of the foremost practitioners of the hard-boiled detective story * SCOTSMAN *
He put these people down on paper as they are, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used -- Raymond Chandler
The first fully "hard-boiled" hero in American letters * NEW YORKER *
The dean of the school of hard-boiled fiction * NEW YORK TIMES *
...a literary classic dealing with corruption by one of the masters of crime fiction * CATHOLIC HERALD *

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