Short, thick-bodied, mulishly stubborn, and indifferent to physical pain, Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op was the prototype for generations of tough-guy detectives. He is also the hero of most of the nine stories in this volume. The Op’s one enthusiasm is doing his job, and in The Big Knockover the jobs entail taking on a gang of modern-day freebooters, a vice-ridden hell’s acre in the Arizona desert, and the bank job to end all bank jobs, along with such assorted grifters as Babe McCloor, Bluepoint Vance, Alphabet Shorty McCoy, and the Dis-and-Dat Kid.
Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in 1894 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and his family moved to Baltimore when he was five. He dropped out of high school after his freshman year and held a series of odd jobs—messenger boy,… More about Dashiell Hammett