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Corruption, murder, beauty and innocence . . . ‘Great crime fiction started with Hammett’ James Ellroy

‘Not just the first of the tough school of crime-writing but the best’ THE TIMES

Ned Beaumont is a tall, thin, moustache-wearing, TB-ridden, drinking, gambling, hanger-on to the political boss of a corrupt Eastern city.

Nevertheless, like every Hammett hero (and like Hammett himself), he has an unbreakable, if idiosyncratic, moral code. Ned’s boss wants to better himself with a thoroughbred senator’s daughter; but does he want it badly enough to commit murder? If he’s innocent, who wants him in the frame? Beaumont must find out.


Not just the first of the tough school of crime-writing but the best
Great crime fiction started with Hammett
James Ellroy
He is master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer
He put these people down on paper as they are, and he made them talk and think in the language they customarily used
Raymond Chandler
His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow
The dean of the school of hard-boiled fiction
One of the foremost practitioners of the hard-boiled detective story