Wednesday 30 March 2016

The Dashiell Hammett Omnibus (Cassell, 1950)

No. 5 in a series of posts on books I've bought but haven't got round to blogging about properly – indeed may never get round to blogging about properly – so this will have to do. NB: linked in Friday's Forgotten Books, 1/4/16.

What is it?
A hardback first edition/first printing of The Dashiell Hammett Omnibus, published by Cassell in 1950. Running to nearly a thousand pages, it contains six of Hammett's Continental Op novels and stories – Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, "Dead Yellow Women", "The Golden Horseshoe", "House Dick" (a.k.a. "Bodies Piled Up") and "Who Killed Bob Teal?" – along with the Sam Spade novel The Maltese Falcon and the novels The Glass Key and The Thin Man.

Who designed the dust jacket?
Couldn't tell you – it's uncredited – but although it's a little wordy – and a little scruffy, condition-wise – it's still stylish enough, I feel, to be added to Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s under "Designer Unknown".

Where and when did I buy it?
Online, last year.

Why did I buy it?
I'd never read any Hammett, and wanted to try some of his hardboiled and noir classics, and The Dashiell Hammett Omnibus seemed a good way to do that; it's an uncommon edition, especially in first/first and in its dust jacket, even a scruffy one (I can only see two or three jacketed first impressions online at present), and represents the first British publication of many of the stories within.

Have I read it yet?
Some of it...