"As far as I can tell, however, no Hammett character appears in more
than one book, . . ."
Well, actually, the Continental Op is in two, The Dain Curse and Red
Harvest, three if you include Big Knockover. That said, I don't think
it's necessary to read them in order, and I'm kind of anal about that
kind of thing.
One other thing, I far prefer novels to short stories, but I think you'd
be missing a lot if you don't add Hammett and Chandler's short stories
to your reading list.
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