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The Dain Curse (The Continental Op Book 2) by [Hammett, Dashiell]
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The Dain Curse (The Continental Op Book 2) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Length: 241 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 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.

From the Inside Flap

The Continental Op is a short, squat, and utterly unsentimental tank of a private detective. Miss Gabrielle Dain Leggett is young, wealthy, and a devotee of morphine and religious cults. She has an unfortunate effect on the people around her: they have a habit of dying violently. Is Gabrielle the victim of a family curse? Or is the truth about her weirder and infinitely more dangerous? The Dain Curse is one of the Continental Op's most bizarre cases, and a tautly crafted masterpiece of suspense.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3082 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reissue edition (February 23, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HFRJGW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Dain Curse" originally appeared as 4 serials in "Black Mask" magazine, 1928-1929, and was reworked and published as a novel shortly thereafter. The novel impresses me more strongly as a soap opera in three acts than a detective story. Yes, there is a detective, the always nameless Continental Op. And there is certainly a mystery. There are a lot of mysteries, in fact. But "The Dain Curse" is the most far-fetched of Dashiell Hammett's works that I've read, and the least cynical of his novels. I wouldn't call this book well-written, but it's a page-turner. The plot is so convoluted that the reader is even more anxious than usual to read to the end in order to find out what our detective will make of it. And that's the heart of the novel's problems: We keep reading because we are curious to know how the Op will unravel this messy, incomprehensible case. We don't keep reading because we are interested in the characters, the story, or the language. Those elements are far less intriguing than I have come to expect from Hammett. Perhaps it's because Hammett strayed from the world of gangsters and thugs that he knew best, but "The Dain Curse"'s conglomeration of religious cults, drug addiction, melodrama, and bourgeois murder just isn't credible on any level. The central female character in the book, Gabrielle, is more of a damsel in distress than a femme fatale, and she is rather unattractive, physically and intellectually. There's nothing wrong with these things, in themselves, but they typify "The Dain Curse"'s departure from Dashiell Hammett's traditional themes and style. Unfortunately, if this novel was an experiment, it wasn't a very successful one. But I don't deny that it's entertaining on a certain level.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Of all the protagonists Dashiell Hammett created -- Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, Ned Beaumont -- the Continental Op, for my taste, is the most enduring and compelling. Professedly amoral, "only a hired hand with a hired hand's interest in your troubles," this 'middle-aged fatman' demands that you take him at face value . . . and yet Hammett's genius is such that you're pulled to look beyond that self-description, to look under the "calluses on the calluses" on his soul.
The Op beat, bludgeoned and shot his way through countless short stories, several of which Hammett later "cannibalized" (to use Raymond Chandler's term for a process he himself would employ) into two novels, one of which is "The Dain Curse," originally serialized in Black Mask magazine before its book publication.
Melodramatic in tone, ranging from San Francisco's Pacific Heights to the semi-fictional town of Quesada (an interesting blend of Monterey and Half Moon Bay, in actuality), the novel follows the Continental Op as he solves several seemingly disparate mysteries before he realizes that those "solutions" are bogus and that he can only get to the true bottom of matters and achieve a genuine resolution by "lifting" the "curse" which 20-year old Gabrielle Leggett is convinced dooms her.
She has a drug habit. Through a mixture of cajolery and bullying, the Op sets out to cure her. And Hammett's true genius begins to show itself:
Throughout the first half of the novel, Gabrielle is, frankly, insipid and easily dismissed.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Dashiell Hammett brought the noir detective into the limelight with "Maltese Falcon," but it wasn't the first or only novel he wrote about hard-edged, hard-boiled detectives. Among his early works was the Continental Op in "The Dain Curse," a scattered but interesting three-tier mystery.
Diamonds have been stolen, and the Continental Op has been called in to find out what has happened. But he finds that the whole story that is given to him has a "wrong" feeling to it -- mysterious men, a diamond he finds on the ground. When the Op digs further, he finds a web of murder, jealousy and hate that spreads back over young Gabrielle Leggett's life.
After the trauma of her father's murder, the Op takes Gabrielle to the Temple of the Holy Grail, a San Francisco cult. At first it seems like a slightly goofy but harmless little pseudo-religion -- until a hideous specter in the Op's room, and a murder that seems to have been committed by Gabrielle, shows that something sinister is lurking there. And finally, the "Dain curse" seemingly strikes again when Gabrielle's young husband is found dead...
Before anyone knew about Sam Spade, Hammett was churning out pulp fiction about the Continental Op in his trademark spare, sharp prose. "The Dain Curse" feels like three loosely connected short stories -- only Gabrielle Leggett ties them together, and the idea of the "Dain curse" (which is never fully dealt with -- though it makes an enticing title) which supposedly kills everyone around Gabrielle.
Hammett's writing is as dry and spare as always. However, the stories sometimes seem too short, especially the second one, which ends on a hurried note (we're only told of Gabrielle's marriage as a sort of postscript).
Read more ›
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