This novel was written in 1931 and it is obviously the precursor to later hard-case crime fiction written by such authors as Mickey Spillane, Ross MacDonald, Cornell Woolrich, and Ed McBain. I enjoyed this one, however, overall I thought the plot was a little weak. It was basically about politicians involved with local gangsters and illegal activities during the prohibition era. The main story line was the mystery of who killed Senator Henry's son. The language and nuances of the novel kept it interesting. It was like reading a noir film from the 40's or 50's. In fact this book was made into a movie in 1942 starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. I'll have to see if it is available on DVD.
A man involved in small-town politics gets mixed up in a murder and some shady dealings. The plot of this book isn't anything special, but Hammet's writing style is. This is vintage 1930's noir and it's the real thing. Not the stuff they're pumping out now that is a parody of the real thing, almost. This is a great read!
Complete and unabridged. Dashiell Hammett's personal favorite among his novels.