RARA-AVIS: Re: ellroy on hammett and the op

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@gmail.com)
Date: 30 Sep 2007

Thanks to Sonny for the heads-up on the Ellroy article. I like Ellroy's fiction, but I'd never accuse him of being either concise or coherent. Which makes this crisp appraisal of Hammett -- one of the best-thought-out and on-target I've ever read -- all the more remarkable. My guess is that it isn't something he just dashed off.

Regarding The Op, someone suggested that the stories should be collected. They have been, by Ellery Queen in several softcover collections, by Lillian Hellman in The Big Knockover and by Steven Marcus in a collection titled, as I recall, The Continental Op, and more recently by Marcus in the Library of America collection of Hammett: Crime Stories and Other Writings.

As for the notion that much of Hammett's work is not quite up to par with that of James M. Cain, that's a tough case to make unless you've got a hat to talk through.

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