The Dain Curse

The Dain Curse❴Ebook❵ ➩ The Dain Curse Author Dashiell Hammett – Everything about the Leggett diamond heist indicated to the Continental Op that it was an inside job From the stray diamond found in the yard to the eyewitness accounts of a strange man casing the hou Everything about the Leggett diamond heist indicated to the Continental Op that it was an inside job From the stray diamond found The Dain PDF/EPUB or in the yard to the eyewitness accounts of a strange man casing the house everything was just too pat Gabrielle Dain Leggett has enough secrets to fill a closet and when she disappears shortly after the robbery she becomes the Op's prime suspect But her father Edgar Leggett keeps some strange company himself and has a dark side the moon would envy Before he can solve the riddle of the diamond theft the Continental Op must first solve the mystery of this strange family. The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett father of the modern crime novel is not only an action packed tale of misdeeds and murder but a study of 1920s American culture and society Within the novel’s pages here is a sampling of what a reader will encounterFirst Person Hard Boiled NarratorThe unnamed Continental Op detective tells the tale in crisp exacting language as he describes the people and places and situations he encounters For example here is an account of his first time meeting a scientist by the name of Edgar Leggett “His voice was unexpectedly harsh rasping though he manner was friendly enough He was a dark skinned erect man in his middle forties muscularly slender and of medium height He would have been handsome if his brown face hadn’t been so deeply marked with sharp hard lines across the forehead and from the nostrils down across mouth corners Dark hair worth rather long curled above and around the broad grooved forehead Red brown eyes were abnormally bright behind horn rimmed spectacles His nose was long thin and high bridged His lips were thin sharp nimble over a small bony chin His black and white cloths were well made and cared for” I uote the detective’s entire study to underscore how careful and laser sharp observation is reuired at each step and phase in his solving this complex convoluted casePresto TempoLike picking up clues as you read and solving the mystery before reaching the end? Good luck with this one – events are packed so tight and happen so fast it is like trying to identify each note while listening to a Paganini Caprice Fortunately for the mystery challenged people like myself the backstory is given as the end of each of the three parts along with the Continental Op’s take on the caseFemme FataleWhat is compelling noir without a femme fatale? This novel features a doozy – Gabrielle There is something about this slender large eyed twenty year old that fascinates men and pull them to her like a powerful deadly magnet Is it her drug induced craziness or her intense personality made intense by a family curse or then again her attractive face and exceptionally white smooth skin? Or perhaps likely a combination of all of these plus that undefinable feminine somethingNovelist Owen FitzstephanHammett probably had lots of fun including a fiction writer in this book a writer described by the detective as “A man who pretended to be lazier than he was would rather talk that do anything else and had a lot of what seemed to be accurate information and original ideas on any subject that happened to come up as long as it was a little out of the ordinary” What kind of ideas does Owen Fitzstephan have on subjects out of the ordinary? I wouldn’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say we come to see which one of these two – the Continental Op or the talented novelist – has compassion and a greater grasp of human nature America the ViolentGuns are as common as candy – an entire society of people thinking their problems are best solved by shooting others or shooting themselves Doesn’t matter law or outlaw man or woman young or old so many people uick to point a gun and pull the trigger There aren’t as many corpses for the morgue as Hammett's Red Harvest but there are enough to count on than one handCalifornia Fruits and NutsBy 1928 when Hammett wrote this novel America was generations removed from a land of traditional believers in traditional religions Matter of fact many people relocated to California to escape the ways and beliefs of their parents so many alternatives; so many sects and cults so many ways to express yourself in faith and belief and alternate lifestyles The Continental Op detective has to deal with a California cult calling itself Temple of the Holy Grail Here is what he says about the cult and the cult’s leaders “They brought their cult to California because everybody does and picked San Francisco because it held less competition than Los Angeles They didn’t want a mob of converts they wanted them few but wealthy” Again novel as study in the sociology and psychology of gun crazed AmericaAmerican author Dashiell Hammett 1894 1961 Enter Unnamed Continental Op of Red Harvest fame This time he was doing an investigation on behalf of an insurance company Somebody stole second rated diamonds from a researcher who borrowed them from somebody else to discover a way to give them permanent color Everything seemed like an ordinary burglary until people connected to investigation started to drop dead with alarming rate To give you a mild spoiler the total amount of dead bodies at the end was not as high as in Red Harvest nobody can beat this record but it came close enough Out hero he is like an anti hero was trying to protect a young woman from herself She believed there was a curse attached to her She also seemed to be right every time the investigation was seemingly over the culprits caught and brought to justice she would move to a different location and after a short time people would start dropping dead again Rinse and repeat This endless investigation gave the story an interesting angle Was there a real curse? Especially considering the second part had some pseudo paranormal elements By the way I loved this part The mystery was great and uite complicated the action was exactly what you would expect from a star of Red Harvest The only reason I did not give book 5 stars was a slowdown at the end Dashiell Hammett confirmed his status of a classic noir mystery writer once again I have yet to find a boring book written by him Here's a better look at the 1966 Penguin mass market paperback I have Sets a totally different tone compared to other editions I've seen “You’re her daughter” she cried “and you’re cursed with the same black soul and rotten blood that she and I and all the Dains have had; and you’re cursed with your mother’s blood on your hands in babyhood; and with your twisted mind and the need for drugs that are my gifts to you; and your life will be black as your mother’s and mine were black” In The Dain Curse one of Dashiell Hammett’s “Continental Op” books based in part on his own experience of being not a detective but an insurance investigator Hammett explores one issue some mystery and detective writers have always been interested in or know some of their readers are interested in The possibility of psychic or paranormal phenomena From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through Agatha Christie the authors of whodunnits mainly side with the rational logical deductive approach to criminal investigation as far as I can tell There probably is a paranormal crime sub genre just as there is a paranormal romance sub genre but I am not aware of it In this one the unnamed Continental Operative or insurance investigator thinks psychic stuff is hokum but he hasn’t met the Dain familySo the plot involving dozens of characters and three different sets of murders focuses if you can use that word for this plot on the Continental Op investigating a theft of diamonds from the Leggett family of San Francisco Along the way to solving all the murders we encounter The Temple of the Holy Grail cult dope fiends On the one hand it feels very much like a pulpy mash up of horror and mystery see Ed Brubaker’s Fatale as another contemporary example and on the other hand as a gothic novel complete with drug induced hallucinations dark sexual drives secret passages hidden altars used for human sacrifice bodies falling from cliffs and so on The uestion is whether there is in fact a “curse” or madness or Pure Evil instead of the usual mundane murder motivations such as greed or jealousy A key event is the CO attempting to free Gabrielle Leggett a Dain fom the religious cult and her addiction to morphine One issue is whether she is in fact a femme fatale impicated in every death in the book The cult keeper is a woman named Aaronia pronounced “Erronia” as in some version of Just Wrong HaldornThis is kind of an aside but one of the interesting things about most classic noir stories is an area already much written about that the stories mainly reify heteronormativity and white privilege and also neurotypicality The detectives may be lower middle class they may be alcoholics but they are smart witty reasonably “attractive” attracted to “Babes” and other dames but the women themselves are usually femme fatales with “bombshell” bodies and almost all the characters are sort of seen as “Freaks” Fat gay people of color sex addicts dope fiends all ABnormal very short as in “midgets” or very tall with “hatchet faced” or “hawk faced” or one eyed or one armed guys I saw the same in Ian Fleming’s Bond; all the villains are “physical “freaks” versus the gorgeous straight white upper middle class martini drinking male our hero what all men must aspire to be Many critiues of this basic approach now exist as in womenlesbiantrans detective stories that are in part commentary on the problems in representation in detective stories But all this to say that in this story which is an attempt to meld the gothichorror with the detective story especially ramps up the “abnormality” of course; all the characters are “malformed” odd weird; in short everything that the Continental Op is not Nevertheless this is basically a murder mystery made into a 1978 tv series I never saw pretty crazy but well written in spite of or in some sense because of all the above issues and confusing at times but often great fun to read Not Hammett’s best work sort of an outlier but still worth checking out if you are exploring his work If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewDaft “The Dain Curse” by Dashiell HammettOriginal Review 1981 03 08We don't do it that wayYou're a storywriter I can't trust you not to build up on what I tell you I'll save mine till after you've spoken your piece so yours won't be twisted to fit mineIn “The Dain Curse” by Dashiell Hammett'Are you who make your living snooping sneering at my curiosity about people and my attempts to satisfy it?''We're differentI do mine with the object of putting people in jail and I get paid for it though not as much as I should''That's not differentI do mine with the object of putting people in books and I get paid for it though not as much as I should'In “The Dain Curse” by Dashiell Hammett Towards the end of The Dain Curse a female character tells the Continental Op affectionately that he is a monster A nice one an especially nice one to have around when you're in trouble but a monster just the same without any human foolishness like love in him While in fact he may have a bit human foolishness than she gives him credit for this does sum up the essence of Hammett's anti hero Unlike the romantic chess playing Marlowe and even keeled Archer who'd follow him the Continental Op is a short fat unattractive beast whose only conuest is the case he's paid to solveFor me one of the striking attributes of the Op was his intense nasty and thoroughly unapologetic racism The language and attitudes in this book towards non white characters particularly women are pretty shocking to the modern reader's ostensibly jaded sensibilities This is one of the main reasons I love old crime fiction though for its detailed depiction of the s of times that have passed Retrospective representations of old timey American racism usually seem unrealistic those racists are villains and their attitudes are supposed to illustrate a moral point In The Dain Curse the Op's racism is just taken for granted and the vulgarity and violence of its expression as when he instructs another operative to rough up the mulatto in order to scare her is just supposed to be part of what makes him hardboiledMaybe reading old crime novels isn't the most responsible way to learn social history but it is one of the most fun In addition to showing multi ethnic 1920s California with all its unpleasantness and white supremacy this book like all twentieth century crime fiction is fascinating for the contrast it illustrates between privacy now and then It always fascinates me to read about a world where people's home addresses were common knowledge and easily shared but where no one needed a social security number no one had a social security number to rent an apartment or turn on the lights there weren't many photographs floating around and there was nothing really to stop a person from moving to a new city and setting up a life under a new nameMore specific to this book was its period depiction of substance use in particular of opioid addiction There is a pretty remarkable seuence of morphine detox and I found this and the sympathetic junkie character a lot down to earth and less sensational than most modern treatments of the subjectIn terms of this book's plot it's pretty ridiculous and not one of those brilliantly satisfying all comes together brilliantly like a puzzle type things but personally I don't care so much about that I really liked the structure which was three major sections in which tons of people were killed and then the case would seem to be solved but the Op was not satisfied that all was really concluded as neatly as it seemed and he'd be proven right when the murders inevitably started up again On the whole I found the book very engaging and fun and satisfying to read I think I might've read it already years and years ago but I don't really remember I probably won't remember this time very well soon either but it was a good summer read and now I'm on to the next book in my crime spree having finally recalled that there's no point in my trying to read anything except that during this time of the year Hammett is all business when it comes to his Continental Ops stories The Dain Curse included which started out as several separately published stories in the crime pulps The gruff short overweight middle aged detective remains nameless his background and personal life a mystery He gets to work at 9am piles up a big hairy mess of clues and uses his shrewd wit and intuition to bull through them the hard nosed professional yet with an occasional flash of heart and compassion The Continental Op is brought in after some diamonds go missing but instead of solving a simple case of theft he ends up embroiled in the on going troubles of a disturbed young woman who believes herself to be the victim of a family curseThis certainly isn’t the best Hammett you can read but it’s not bad The plot is all over the place and doesn’t make much sense but the main appeal is the attitude of the Op who still shines as the cynical private detective who has seen it all The best books dissolve in your hands You get so caught up in them you don't recall moving your eyes over the lines of print or turning the pages When a good read is open you're a thousand miles away and a hundred years ago Unfortunately The Dain Curse 1929 isn't that type of read You never forget it's a book because of how it bounces when you throw it against the wallIt starts off like dozens of other mysteries a home is broken into and some diamonds go missing The Continental Op is called in to investigate The thief turns up eventually and so do the skeletons in the closet the bats in the belfry and the bodies in the basement San Francisco is transformed into a morgue and the carnage spills over into the surrounding counties At the center of this whirlpool of death and insanity is Gabrielle Leggett a young woman who's convinced that a family curse is responsible for destroying everyone she is close to The Op has to recover not only the diamonds but also the young woman's witsHammett's plain terse style creates an air of verisimilitude in the first few chapters You may be reminded of Hemingway But Hemingway got away with this type of writing because he was interested in creating characters and he understood understatement Hammett works with stick figures and tries to counterbalance his spare prose with bizarre and over the top twists and turns in the plot Everybody has a name a gat in the pocket and a secret to hide When things get too uiet Hammett either introduces half a dozen new characters or he just chucks another corpse on the heap You'll be stymied trying to keep track of who's who And what a variety of murders You'd think Hammett was about to move on to another genre and was cleaning out the ice boxSo read The Dain Curse as pure pulp fiction the kind that sticks in your teeth You may be frustrated with the long confessions that tried to make sense of an otherwise almost incomprehensible plot The body count is ridiculous But in the end you may come to like the Op and enjoy the book for its zaniness and its strong period feel Hammett's first stab at crime fiction as literature possibly the first ever the last appearance of the Continental Op and the most misunderstood of his novels While every other Op tale was a straight ahead tough guy detective story this book is an elaborate satire of three things 1 the English tea cozy mystery novel where at the climax everyone all the characters are gathered in the parlor while the detective explains what happens 2 the weird menace horror stories like Lovecraft's that were the primary competitor of the crime pulps and 3 the contempt that real literary authors had for his workSo the novel includes such bizarre set pieces as a parlor scene that does not end in the traditional British manner; a scene where the Op fistfights God; and repeated scenes where literary author Owen Fitzstephan mocks the crimes the Op investigates and his true to life detective methods as boring writing material The fact that both the Op and Fitzstephan are obviously aspects of Hammett himself makes it even weirderThe only one of his novels that was not a smash hit with critics it sadly led him to abandon the Op forever Hammett no longer believing that a series character would be taken seriously as literature

The Dain Curse eBook ¾ The Dain  PDF/EPUB or
  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • The Dain Curse
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • English
  • 15 April 2016
  • 9780752851808