Dashiell Hamnett / Succinct Beyond Belief, Chosen Words

1st ediiton cover
(Alfred A. Knopf)

Dashiell Hamnett’s output was complete after only nine years but the crisp beauty of his prose illuminates all his books and short stories.  Below are a few favorite lines of mine. 


 “”Well,”  she bit her lip and made a row of forefinger prints down the polished edge of the dead man’s desk…


The girl picked up a pencil from the table and thoughtfully scratched her cheek with it.  The pencil made little curly lines over the rouge.


Smoke.  Stink.  Heat.  Noise.


A lone shot sounded not far away.





Red Harvest, first called The Cleansing of Poisonville, was serialised in Black Mask between November 1927 and February 1928. Published in the following year by Alfred A. Knopf, it became Dashiell Hammett’s first hard-boiled novel. Along with The Glass Key (1931) it is the most directly political of Hammett’s novels; it is certainly the most violent and apocalyptic of his works, representing not remediable political-economic ills but a sense of deep-seated moral disorder.    By Lee Horsley, The Literary Encyclopedia

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