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Lost Stories (Ace Performer Collection) [Hardcover]

Joe Gores , Dashiell Hammett , Vince Emery
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.99
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vince Emery Productions; 1st Trade Hardcover Ed edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972589813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972589819
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Dashiell Hammett, the creator of Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man, was one of the 20th century's most influential and entertaining authors. Even so, many of Hammett's stories - including some of his best - have been out of the reach of anyone but a handful of scholars and collectors, until now. This essential compendium rescues 21 long-lost Hammett stories, all either never collected in an anthology or unavailable for decades. These stories appear nowhere else, and represent a variety of styles from the famous mysterysmith: his first detective fiction, humorous satires, adventure yarns, a sensitive autobiographical piece, and a Thin Man story told with photos. In addition, all stories have been restored to their original versions, replacing often wholesale cuttings with the original text for the first time. To round out, this celebration of Hammett, three-time Edgar Award - winner Joe Gores has written an introduction describing how Hammett influenced literature, movies, television, and Gores' own life.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Hammett fans owe Vince Emery a big "Thanks!" for putting this volume together. I spent a lot of delightful time going over this enjoyable book and reconsidering the origins of the detective as the focus for a story . . . rather than the mystery.

As the title of this volume suggests, these are Hammett stories that you cannot easily find elsewhere. Since they are not usually available in complete form, these are obviously not his most famous stories.

There are other available collections of the better known Hammett stories (such as The Big Knockover edited by Lillian Hellman, The Continental Op Short Story Collection edited by Steven Marcus, Nightmare Town edited by Kirby McCauley, Martin H. Greenberg and Ed Gorman, and Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stories and Other Writings edited by Steven Marcus). You'll probably like the stories in those collections better than in Lost Stories.

But after you've finished all of Hammett's novels and short stories, you'll yearn for more. And that's where Lost Stories will become a treasure for you.

This extensive volume also contains a running commentary on Hammett's life and times which will give you a good perspective on his career and family life. . . especially through the lenses of being a soldier, tubercular invalid, new husband and father, private detective, hungry writer, advertising man, famous writer, incorrigible drunk and gambler, script doctor and Communist. I found it helpful to know where he was in his life when each story was written. I also appreciated understanding how his earnings translate into buying power today.

I didn't expect a lot from these stories. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Hammett was always a good writer . . . before he became an astonishingly good writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Dashiell Hammett was a marvelous writer who virtually single-handedly invented the hard-boiled detective story. Once I discovered Hammett I read every piece of work I could get my hands on. At the time this consisted of his five full length novels and compilations (including The Continental Op and The Big Knockover) of some of his short stories. I never felt as if I had read enough of Hammett. The publication of newly found or little known stories is, therefore, a welcome find. "Nightmare Town" is one such collection. "The Lost Stories" is another and is an excellent discovery for any Hammett fan or any fan of good writing.
There are only 21 stories here, all found in defunct magazines (including H. L. Mencken's Smart Set) and all of which had not appeared in print since their original publication. Standing alone these 21 stories would not be sufficient to warrant a full length book. However, the editor Vince Emery, has set out these stories in chronological order and has written something of a side-by-side biography of Hammett's life and times. This may seem intrusive to those who simply want to read the stories. However, Emery's commentary is very well written and he does a very good job of putting the stories in the context of Hammett's life and of the times. After a good introduction by Joe Gores, a successful mystery writer in his own right, Emery walks the reader through Hammett's life and times. Hammett's transition from a detective struggling with tuberculosis and eking out a meager existence through military disability payments to a successful writer is set out in a concise, well-written fashion. Emery briefly describes the story and Hammett's efforts at selling that story to various publications.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich seam of Hammett 20 Nov 2011
By Egwanga
Format:Hardcover
After you have read every novel and the main collections of short stories in publication, you may wish Hammett had written more.
Along comes Vince Emery to find and collate the rare material gathered here. Not only is it every bit as good as other published Hammett short stories it has the added pleasure of a compelling introduction by Joe Gores.
The short stories and the linking commentary form a biographical study of Hammett through his lost work. Apart from the recently discovered 15 stories, should they reach publication, this will complete my collection. More importantly, it introduces the man behind the stories, the complex, artistic, realist who created the genre, the believable scenarios and characters, the Homeric hero, and the legacy, to which the world of fiction and film owes a debt of gratitude.
It is also good to read two distinct opinions of the work, both of whom are keen to put Hammett in his rightful place as a true American Voice in literature and to argue his place in the literary Canon.
Even if you care little for Hammett's genius being recognised, the book contains some stories that depart from the material you may expect from the author, as well as some gems dipped from his usual pool of inspiration: his experience as a Pinkerton Detective.
For something a little unusual, and with something of the flavour of Joseph Conrad, try Ber-Bulu.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They once were lost, and now are found . . . 1 Feb 2006
By Leonard Fleisig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dashiell Hammett was a marvelous writer who virtually single-handedly invented the hard-boiled detective story. Once I discovered Hammett I read every piece of work I could get my hands on. At the time this consisted of his five full length novels and compilations (including The Continental Op and The Big Knockover) of some of his short stories. I never felt as if I had read enough of Hammett. The publication of newly found or little known stories is, therefore, a welcome find. "Nightmare Town" is one such collection. "The Lost Stories" is another and is an excellent discovery for any Hammett fan or any fan of good writing.

There are only 21 stories here, all found in defunct magazines (including H. L. Mencken's Smart Set) and all of which had not appeared in print since their original publication. Standing alone these 21 stories would not be sufficient to warrant a full length book. However, the editor Vince Emery, has set out these stories in chronological order and has written something of a side-by-side biography of Hammett's life and times. This may seem intrusive to those who simply want to read the stories. However, Emery's commentary is very well written and he does a very good job of putting the stories in the context of Hammett's life and of the times. After a good introduction by Joe Gores, a successful mystery writer in his own right, Emery walks the reader through Hammett's life and times. Hammett's transition from a detective struggling with tuberculosis and eking out a meager existence through military disability payments to a successful writer is set out in a concise, well-written fashion. Emery briefly describes the story and Hammett's efforts at selling that story to various publications. Emery does spend a fair amount of time dissecting Hammett's work, exploring common themes, elements, pet phrases and the like. Some may find this a bit too similar to a course in writing for their taste. I found it helpful, others may not.

The stories themselves are fascinating. They may be uneven at times but from the very first one you can see Hammett's voice. Hammett always had an ability to craft a sentence that could describe a person, his attire, or a setting that would take others paragraphs. In one story, "The Green Elephant", Hammett describes a low-level criminal: "Joe's fault, as Doc Haire had once pointed out, was that he wan an unskilled laborer in the world of crime, and therefore had to contend himself with stealing whatever came to hand a slipshod and generally unsatisfactory method."

The Lost Stories is a valuable addition to the Hammett literary canon.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Treasure 21 Aug 2005
By Howard Tate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hammett fans, rejoice! This collection of "lost" stories is a real treasure.

Many of the stories are very short (one is a mere paragraph!) and the book is mostly "filler" written by editor Vince Emery but these characteristics are surprises rather than disappointments.

The stories are true Hammett and the "filler" consists of history, background and critical analysis that I found interesting and entertaining.

If you love the writing of Dashiell Hammett you need this book.

By the way, "Lost Stories" is a very handsome volume that displays well with the rest of your Hammett collection.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hybrid Hammett Biography and Collection of Long-Lost Work. 8 Jan 2007
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Lost Stories" is a compilation of 21 long-unavailable pieces of writing by Dashiell Hammett crossed with a biography by Vince Emery that follows Hammett's life and career in between the stories. I say "pieces of writing" because only about a dozen of them could be called "stories". The pieces range from one-paragraph vignettes to the 41-page story "Laughing Masks". All originally appeared in magazines between 1922 and 1941 and have not been available in recent decades -though "Night Shade" also appears in the "Vintage Hammett" sampler. I recommend "Lost Stories" to Hammett enthusiasts and scholars, not to casual fans. Combining a biography of Hammett with assorted obscure pieces of writing gives less informed readers a misleading picture of Hammett's work, because his best and most iconic work is absent.

Mystery writer Joe Gores introduces "Lost Stories" with discussion of Hammett's influence on 20th century American writers, his style, and themes. The bulk of the book divides Hammett's life into 8 parts, introduced with biographical essays by Vince Emery. Short stories and other writings are included chronologically, in the appropriate sections, often followed by critical analysis by Emery. The first and last sections contain no stories, but relate Hammett's life before he started writing and after World War II. Emery's essays include some info that was new to me in spite of my having read several Hammett biographies. Some of the essays contain too much hyperbole for my taste, however, and the conversions of Hammett's earnings to current dollar values are exaggerated. Emery may be using the unskilled wage rate to convert the values instead of comparing purchasing power using the CPI or GDP Deflator. To estimate current purchasing power, multiply 1930s dollars by 10 or 15.

If you want to make a beeline for the stories without wading through the rest, these are my picks: "The Barber and His Wife", because it's the first story Hammett wrote. The best crime stories in this book are "The Sardonic Star of Tom Doody", "The Joke on Eloise Morey", "Laughing Masks", "The Green Elephant", and "Itchy". Two very disparate stories about a writer are "The Dimple" and "This Little Pig", which comments on a screenwriter's dilemma. "Ber-Bulu" takes place in the 1890s on a Philippine island and is Hammett's only period story.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Those Who Want to See Hard-to-Find Hammett Material 13 May 2006
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Hammett fans owe Vince Emery a big "Thanks!" for putting this volume together. I spent a lot of delightful time going over this enjoyable book and reconsidering the origins of the detective as the focus for a story . . . rather than the mystery.

As the title of this volume suggests, these are Hammett stories that you cannot easily find elsewhere. Since they are not usually available in complete form, these are obviously not his most famous stories.

There are other available collections of the better known Hammett stories (such as The Big Knockover edited by Lillian Hellman, The Continental Op Short Story Collection edited by Steven Marcus, Nightmare Town edited by Kirby McCauley, Martin H. Greenberg and Ed Gorman, and Dashiell Hammett: Crime Stories and Other Writings edited by Steven Marcus). You'll probably like the stories in those collections better than in Lost Stories.

But after you've finished all of Hammett's novels and short stories, you'll yearn for more. And that's where Lost Stories will become a treasure for you.

This extensive volume also contains a running commentary on Hammett's life and times which will give you a good perspective on his career and family life. . . especially through the lenses of being a soldier, tubercular invalid, new husband and father, private detective, hungry writer, advertising man, famous writer, incorrigible drunk and gambler, script doctor and Communist. I found it helpful to know where he was in his life when each story was written. I also appreciated understanding how his earnings translate into buying power today.

I didn't expect a lot from these stories. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Hammett was always a good writer . . . before he became an astonishingly good writer.

Since many of these stories are quite brief, I won't attempt to describe each one except to note which ones I especially enjoyed. The book begins with Hammett's very first story, The Barber and His Wife, which displays a powerful ability to portray character with a few actions and words. The first published story (for Smart Set) was the anecdote-length tale called The Parthian Shot. Hemingway would have admired such a story.

The Road Home was his first detective story . . . and you can already feel the power of Sam Spade in it.

By 1923, Hammett's skill as a satirist was fully developed in such stories as The Master Mind and The Sardonic Star of Tom Doody. The stories begin to take on a special quality with The Joke on Eloise Morey as he employs stream of consciousness narrative and a dark-tinged sense of humor. Some of the stories seem almost autobiographical like Holiday. Plot lines begin to emerge in stories like The Green Elephant, Laughing Masks, Itchy, Ber-Bulu and This Little Pig that have the germs of full-fledged novels in them.

I particularly commend Laughing Masks, Ber-Bulu and This Little Pig to you. They are the crown jewels of this collection.

Ardent Hammett fans will also cheer for Joe Gores' delightful introduction.

Get these stories!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hammet 's Life 31 Jan 2006
By Brian R. Lemaire - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Lost Stories intersperses Hammett's stories with biographical material describing what was happening in his life at the time each story was written. And some specific stylistic analysis of what makes Hammett unique. This greatly deepens my appreciation both for the stories and for Hammett as a person. Vince Emory provides this biographical material, and his research and writing is of a very high caliber. The reader gets to follow along as Hammett's writing abilities improve and then ultimately decline. His early struggles, financially and medically, make it amazing that he ever got off the ground at all. For Hammett fans, and I know there are a good number of you out there, this is a great addition. If only for the newly released Hammett material, five stars. But with the biographical stuff gluing it all together, ten stars.
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