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WOMAN IN THE DARK by Dashiell Hammett


by Dashiell Hammett

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1988
ISBN: 0679722653
Publisher: Knopf

Written for Liberty magazine near the end of Hammett's prime (1933), reprinted in the 1950's in pulp paperback, this bullet-hard novella about an ex-con and a courtesan on the run now wins its first hard-cover publication. All of Hammett's themes are cast in miniature here--the lone-wolf hero; unsentimental sex and tense love; awareness of class lines (the villains are aristocrats; the heroes, for the most part, men and women with dirt under their nails and gutter-twang to their voices). As usual with Hammett, there's nary a wasted word, and if the ending's a bit happy-contrived ("fortuitous," as Robert B. Parker puts it in his intelligent foreword), the overall tone remains bitter but right, literary iodine.