The Hunter and Other Stories

In this collection of close to 20, mostly unpublished, works by Dashiell Hammett, we see the famed crime writer as a more rounded artist. Hammett dabbles with his hard-boiled detectives but also gives us stories about wavering magicians, the addiction of fame, the golden age of Hollywood, and doomed romance. The commentary from Hammett biographer Richard Layman and Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie M. Rivett, that begins each section contextually places the stories within Hammett’s personal and professional life and thematically draws connections to the author’s more famous published works. For instance, “An Inch and a Half of Glory” and “Faith” share a common theme—masculinity and a man’s role in the world—with later popular works, but in these two stories, Hammett twists the characters’ motivations and internal conflicts giving readers a look at how he viewed the world outside a detective agency. While the tales may not live up to the exploits of Sam Spade or Nick and Nora Charles—though an unfinished Sam Spade story is included—it’s intriguing to see the author outside of his element and to still recognize the emerging style that made him famous.