Re: RARA-AVIS: The Dain Curse-why the bad rap?

From: brooks hefner (
Date: 14 Sep 2000

>The Dain Curse struck me as the most Chandler-esque of Hammett's novels,
>meaning of course that Chandler is Dain Curse-esque, though obviously
>it to another level. What prompts to say that (from somewhat distant
>is not only the episodic nature, but also the interaction with the wealthy,
>eccentric family with compelling, messed-up daughters. . . . .and now all
>a sudden i'm starting to think of Ross Macdonald . . . . .

it does, of course, have the op shuffled here and there a la marlowe, though the events he's investigating are connected from the start, whereas marlowe's investigations usually involve two (or more) seemingly unrelated cases coming together at the end. it doesn't exactly have chandler's endearing california beach-house, but it does have a gothic sort-of mansion on a cliff overlooking the ocean. close enough, or is it?

what i found strange about it is how much of it takes place outside of the city, in a small california coastal town "Quesada", and, above-all, that crazy sacrificial cult. not your usual, gritty, street-fighting, blackjacking material.

i used "pulpy" as a quote from someone to whom i talked about the novel before i read it (which was last night for the first time). his explanation: it has some sort of exciting revelation or event every few pages or so, whether you need one or not. i guess that's the case, though it seems like it was a couple of medium-length short stories and one long novella strung together. i read somewhere that it was actually some various stories strung together. has anyone read those? know of them? are they available? if so, what kind of changes did Hammett make to them?

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