Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett Pulp Novels

Date: 08 Feb 2000

BobT recently gave an admirably detailed account of how several of Hammett's novels originally appeared as a series of semi-autonomous short stories in *Black Mask* prior to book publication. I would differ with him on only one point. He states that *The GLass Key*, like *The Maltese Falcon* was written as a single, cohesive novel, rather than a series of linked novelettes. In fact *The Glass Key*, Like *Blood Money*, *Red Harvest*, and *The Dain Curse*, first appeared in *Black Mask* as a consecutive series of semi-automous installments, each of the four parts written so that it could simultaneously serve as a both serial chapter and as a separate short story. If, in its book form, this does not seem to be the case, it is because Hammett had, by this time, mastered the the knack of concealing the seams. However, if you read the book *knowing* its magazine publication history, and put it down after completing roughly a quarter, the "separateness" of each part becomes more evident.


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