Re: RARA-AVIS: The Dain Curse

Juri Nummelin (
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 10:19:56 +0300 (EET DST)

On Thu, 28 Oct 1999, Victoria Esposito-Shea wrote:

> locales--he's going from mainstream San Fransisco to the interior of a cult
> to rural California--and the characters: escaped convicts, fake preachers,
> insane writers, a seriously dysfunctional family, magicians' stage hands. .

And there are people saying that Hammett was a realist...

> I think that the consistent characters & locale in Thin Man are what keep
> it together also. You've got one set of people and one setting, and that
> helps keep the reader reasonably together & focused, no matter how odd it
> all gets.

This just isn't how I felt re-reading the book couple years ago. I was confused and not focused at all. And I think I'm not alone, just look at Robert B. Parker's introduction in "Woman in Dark". He implies: you should forget the book if you're going to like Hammett.

> The Dain Curse just doesn't have that kind of grounding. It's
> fun--the Op is my favorite Hammett protagonist--but that's about it.

I didn't mean "The Dain Curse" was good. It isn't. But there's enough speed and action to keep things going even though the reader loses his interest in the mystery rather quickly. It's rather like other pulp stories from the 20's and 30's - the plot isn't anything and the action scenes are everything. And Hammett was, after all, a pulp writer. He just had enough, well, courage to make something else in "The Glass Key" and "The Maltese Falcon".


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