RARA-AVIS: "The Parthian Shot"

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 02 Oct 2002

Here's the full text of Dashiell Hammett's first printed story, from THE SMART SET (October 1922), exactly eighty years ago.

| When the boy was six months old Paulette Key acknowledged that her hopes
| and efforts had been futile, that the baby was indubitably and
| irredeemably a replica of its father. She could have endured the
| physical resemblance, but the duplication of Harold Key's stupid
| obstinacy--unmistakable in the fixity of the child's inarticulate
| demands for its food, its toys--was too much for Paulette. She knew
| she could not go on living with two such natures! A year and a half of
| Harold's domination had not subdued her entirely. She took the little
| boy to church, had him christened Don, sent him home by his nurse, and
| boarded a train for the West.

He was busy from then on. Amongst other stories, "The Road Home" was his first in BLACK MASK (December 1922, under "Peter Collinson"), and his first story in BLACK MASK under his own name was "Crooked Souls" (a.k.a.
"The Gatewood Caper") on October 1923.

I think that's a good story to kick off the ambling survey of the history of hardboiled and noir writing that will make up the themes of the month for the next eight months. Anyone who wants to is encouraged to read something from the decade in question and post some comments or a summary. With all the people on the list, and all the different tastes, there'll be lots covered and lots of talk. I'm going to start reading Hammett's early stuff once I've finished the book I'm on.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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