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The Hunter and Other Stories

The Hunter and Other Stories

4.0 1
by Dashiell Hammett, Julie M. Rivett, Richard Layman

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THE HUNTER AND OTHER STORIES is a unique literary publication from one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Dashiell Hammett. This volume includes both new Hammett stories gleaned from his personal archives along with screen treatments long buried in film-industry files. The best of Dashiell Hammett's unfamiliar treasures have been rescued from deep in


THE HUNTER AND OTHER STORIES is a unique literary publication from one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Dashiell Hammett. This volume includes both new Hammett stories gleaned from his personal archives along with screen treatments long buried in film-industry files. The best of Dashiell Hammett's unfamiliar treasures have been rescued from deep in these archives: screen stories, unpublished and rarely published fiction, and intriguing unfinished narratives. Hammett is regarded as both a pioneer and master of hard-boiled detective fiction, but these dozen and half stories that explore failed romance, courage in the face of conflict, hypocrisy, and crass opportunism, show him in a different light. The collection also includes two full-length screen treatments. "On the Make" is the basis for the rarely seen 1935 film Mr. Dynamite, starring a corrupt detective who never misses an opportunity to take advantage of his clients rather than help them. "The Kiss-Off" is the basis for City Streets (1931), with Sylvia Sydney and Gary Cooper caught in a romance complicated by racketeering's obligations and temptations. Like the screen stories from RETURN OF THE THIN MAN, they read as novellas-rich in both story and character.

Publication of these new volumes is due to the passion of Julie M. Rivett, Hammett's granddaughter and a well-regarded Hammett scholar, as well as Richard Layman, the author of the first full-length biography of Hammett, Shadow Man, the definitive bibliography, and other works. Rivett and Layman are trustees for Hammett's literary estate and have co-edited two previous Hammett volumes-Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett and Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers. THE HUNTER AND OTHER STORIES will appeal to longtime Hammett fans, and introduce a new generation to one of the most influential voices in American fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reviewed by Don Herron. I know fans of crime writer Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961) who have been waiting decades to read the stories collected in this book. Stories from his personal files that he probably never tried to sell, a couple more that haven’t been reprinted in over 80 years—plus never-before-published screen treatments and a fragment starring his iconic PI, Sam Spade. Most come from an archive placed by his longtime companion, Lillian Hellman, in the Ransom Center, University of Texas, and it’s taken all these years to get the rights cleared, a saga in itself. Nothing here gets close to Hammett’s white-hot run of fiction in the pulp Black Mask from 1923–1930, the long series of tales featuring the short, fat Continental Op, building up to the peak novels The Big Knock-Over and Red Harvest, and the creation of Sam Spade for The Maltese Falcon. That’s where he made his rep, allowing him to cash out in Hollywood in the 1930s. By 1934 and publication of The Thin Man and a handful of stories, Hammett was done with prose fiction—whatever he tried to write after that was left as fragments for the Ransom archive. But if you’re a Hammett fan, you’ll want to savor any leftovers from the feast. Under the section head “Crime,” the title story is one of a small group of unpublished detective tales about a short, fat investigator bullying a confession out of a suspect, but lacking some touch that might have made it solid. Other sections use the headings “Men” and “Men and Women.” Most intriguing is the never-before-published “Magic,” a tale of sorcery perhaps intended for the pulp Weird Tales—it’s as if Hammett is channeling WT mainstay Clark Ashton Smith. Pulp scholars will be talking about that one for years. “On the Way” appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in 1932, an autobiographical romp—featuring the author and a woman based on Hellman cruising the bars and dance clubs in Hollywood—which sees print in a Hammett collection for the first time. “Screen Stories” collects three Hammett treatments, including “The Kiss Off,” the basis for the Gary Cooper film City Streets, and “On the Make,” originally a vehicle in which Sam Spade went crooked, but this version features a shady PI named Gene Richmond, though it does resurrect the gangster the Dis-and-Dat Kid from The Big Knock-Over. Always good to see old pals one more time. The collection wraps up with a lost Sam Spade story, “A Knife Will Cut for Anybody,” the only fragment included in the book. Not from the Texas holdings, this item comes from an unnamed mystery writer who bought it on the antiquarian market years ago—as rare as rare can be. I understand that the e-book edition will include other fragments as extras, so die-hard collectors will want that, too. This may not be the last Hammett book: current collections do not gather all his work—no less than two Op tales are missing—but we’re getting close to the end. And then, someday, we fans will want definitive editions—and few authors deserve them more. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Nov.) Don Herron is the author of The Dashiell Hammett Tour, based on his long-lived guided walk, and Willeford, a biography of cult crime writer Charles Willeford.
From the Publisher


“For aficionados of the genre, the unearthing of new Hammett stories is akin to Christians discovering an epilogue to the New Testament. . . . These stories are among Hammett’s best. . . . [His] prose is always savvy and sturdy, but for the man who invented ‘hard-boiled,’ it can also be surprisingly elegant.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“This fascinating collection of hitherto unpublished or ungathered tales . . . will be a treat for any fan of the father of the hardboiled detective story.”—Wall Street Journal

“Hammett’s talent allowed him to create moving and realistic characters using seemingly perfunctory details—the literary equivalent of a Picasso doodle. . . . Any Hammett fan will surely want to peruse this . . . readable tome.”—Columbus Dispatch

The Hunter and Other Stories caulks a crack in American literature. . . . The non-crime stories in The Hunter and Other Stories are good enough to make one wonder what a different kind of writer Hammett might have become had he published these stories before he began to make a living with crime fiction.”—The Daily Beast

“Layman and Rivett have expertly introduced and edited these stories. . . . The Hunter and Other Stories is a very good book by a great writer. Perhaps more important, it opens a wide window upon the creativity of one of our most important American storytellers of the twentieth century.”—Barnes & Noble Review

“Very entertaining writing. . . . This book is a must-read.”—Huntington News

“Hammett uses words like scalpels to surgically reveal slivers of seediness whether it concerns detectives or wronged men or wronged women. If you want to discover why Sam Spade’s dad burst onto the scene like a 30s literary nova, here’s your chance.”—Will Durst, Progressive Magazine

"A pure pleasure to read."—Jeff Baker, OregonLive.com

“A labor of love . . . this collection is certainly a worthy monument to an important and brilliant literary career, one that reveals a heretofore hidden side of one of America’s most important fiction authors.”—Bookreporter.com

“Fans of crime writer Dashiell Hammett . . . have been waiting decades to read the stories collected in this book.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed review)


"Tantalizing."—Detectives Beyond Borders


"I think Hammett's stories are about the best there are."—Ross Macdonald

"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction."—The New York Times

"Hammett . . . wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before."—Raymond Chandler

"The exuberance of language, the relish with which seediness is described . . . it's a pleasure to imagine young Hammett cutting loose with whatever rascally high jinks he could cook up."—Margaret Atwood

"An acknowledged literary landmark."—New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
Dashiell Hammett was one of the founders of the hard-boiled detective genre with novels such as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, but he also wrote several other novels and many short stories. This volume, edited with commentaries by Layman (Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett) and Rivett, Hammett's granddaughter, includes his uncollected short fiction. Several of these are mysteries, but Hammett was a working writer who was always trying to broaden his appeal. Some of the stories (such as "Fragments of Justice" and "An Inch and a Half of Glory") would have been right at home in the pages of The New Yorker or the Saturday Evening Post. Hammett's tenure in Hollywood is represented by three treatments for the studios, two of which actually became films. Fans of Hammett's gift for swiftly paced plotting and his ear for the language of the day will be pleased to find much evidence of this in these stories. VERDICT While not essential for the hard-boiled mystery fan (there are volumes of the collected crime novels and short stories available), this work would be a good companion to the Library of America volumes for the Hammett completist.—Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green

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Meet the Author

Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, screenplay writer, and political activist. He created enduring characters including Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse).

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 27, 1894
Date of Death:
January 10, 1961
Place of Birth:
St. Mary, Maryland
Place of Death:
New York
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

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The Hunter and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
This collection of mostly previously unpublished stories found in various sources shows Dashiell Hammett as a versatile and gifted writer of more than just crime stories. It spans from the early twenties through various phases of his life and is grouped in four subject categories: Crime, of course; Men, Men and Women; and, Screen stories. It includes 17 short stories and three screen stories. In an appendix, the beginning of a Sam Spade story or novel is included by special arrangement with a private collector, along with unedited fragments Hammett left behind. This material, of course, is probably of interest only to specialists, but the rest should warrant reading by those who remember him as only the author of “The Maltese Falcon” and gain a better perspective of Hammett, and it is recommended.