RARA-AVIS: Re: Hammett's "Corkscrew"

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 04 Jun 2009

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    Re your question below"

    "Just wondering: Did Hammett's short story 'Corkscrew' have another name."

    No. It was originally published as "Corkscrew." For those of you who never read it, "Corkscrew" is a "The Pp tames a corrupt, crime-ridden small town" yarn that, in some respects, is a sort of rehearsal for RED HARVEST. It's also interesting in that it's the only story in the series, AFAIK, in which the Op (deputized by the local sheriff's office for this assignment) operates as an official policeman.
    "I recently picked up a Library of America copy of his 'Crime Stories and Other Writings' and this story was not included. Same for 'The Gatewood Caper.' but I found it was also named 'Crooked Souls' and was included under that name. If there's no other name for 'Corkscrew'... and I could find none and a check of beginning text of stories included seems to indicate the story is NOT included; does anyone know why it was left out?"

    Generally, the LOA collections are meant to be representative, not comprehensive. I suppose whoever edited the volume decided for reasons of his or her own that "Corkscrew" wasn't as important as the stories that were included.

    The counterpart LOA Chandler collection, STORIES & EARLY NOVELS, is similarly representative without being comprehensive. It includes most of the stories from THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER, plus one or two others, but none from KILLER IN THE RAIN.

    Interestingly, like the Hammett collection, it also prints the original pulp version, not a later revision. Hence, the Marlowe figure in those early stories is either nameless, Carmday, or John Dalmas, rather than being Marlowe as he was in TSAM.



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