I really enjoyed this. I've been a fan of film noir for a long time and have been wanting to track down some Dashiell Hammett books and see how it all started. I finally found this one and I greatly enjoyed it. I loved his writing style, it was quirky, gritty and even amusing at times. There were some great turns of phrase. It wasn't really a mystery novel, the initial murder being solved in the first 50 pages, but rather an interesting tale of criminals and a detective. Set in a small depressing town full of vice the novel slowly defended into more and more corruption. I have to say I loved the characterisation. These weren't the beautiful heros and heroines of the films. The main character was short and dumpy, while at 40 he was still able to get by on a night of gin instead of sleep he was not glamourous. The woman character was there to extort money out of her would be lovers. She was also plump, wearing clothes that were raggedy or too small, her hair was in need of cutting. But I loved her. I loved her sass and the way her and the detective would spend their nights together drinking gin.
I totally fell for this story, while the never ending list of criminals did get a bit confusing towards the middle it was still a very enjoyable read. This novel is in a collection of four others published by Picador and I'm really looking forward to reading the rest....Continua