Short Stories
The Big Book of the Continental Op

by Dashiell Hammett
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, November 2017, $25

The Big Book of the Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett, edited by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett, is a welcome compilation of all 28 Continental Op stories and the serialized versions of the Op’s two novels, Red Harvest—serialized as The Cleansing of Poisonville—and The Dain Curse, as each story originally appeared in Black Mask magazine. The stories are presented in publication order, from “Arson” in October 1923 to “Death and Company” in November 1930, providing the reader a frontrow seat to the transformation of the Continental Detective Agency’s unnamed operative, from a standard Golden-Age detective to one of the earliest detectives of the hardboiled school. Included is enough editorial guidance to provide the reader with context, without overshadowing the character and his stories.

Ben Boulden
Teri Duerr
November 2017
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard