Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Continental Op

The Continental OpThe Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Continental Op is a collection of short stories starring Dashiell Hammett's detective character, The Continental Op. Here are just some of the tales contained within.

The Tenth Clew: Millionaire Leopold Gantvoort is found dead and signs point to the mysterious Emil Bonfils. But what of the more obvious suspect, Gantvoort's 23 year old wife to be?

Not a bad way to start the collection. I've never read a story where someone had their head bashed in with a typewriter before. The mystery was pretty good, though I had some idea what was going on about halfway through.

The Golden Horseshoe: The Op goes to Mexico to bring back a rich woman's husband and gets more than he bargained for...

This story nicely illustrates The Continental Op's place in Matthew Scudder's ancestry as the Op bends the law to get a man put away.

The Girl with the Silver Eyes: A poet hires the Continental Pop to find his missing lover. Too bad she isn't who she pretends to be...

This one was a lot more complex than it first seemed and the Op demonstrated his ability quite well, both in detection and in violence. My favorit part, however, was how the poet was exasperating the Op at the beginning of the case.

The Whosis Kid: The Op crosses paths with a two-gun stickup man while on the trial of stolen jewels.

The op thinks his way out of a nasty situation when he gets caught between some double-crossing criminals. I love that the Op isn't afraid to fight dirty and knows he's no knight in shining armor.

In conclusion, The Continental Op is a collection of detective stories that are still influential even today. For it's historical value, it should be a must read for pulp detective fans.

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