Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Hammett’s writing style also elevates his work beyond its start in the pulp magazines. A model of leanness and economy, Hammett’s prose has served as a guide for many later writers. These include Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, who went on to continue successfully the tradition of “hardboiled” detective stories. Hammett’s style remains a fine model for young writers, particularly those who strive for clarity and who wish to produce a compelling narrative.

Indeed, Hammett’s prose lent itself well to the conventions of the detective story, always keeping the reader interested and in suspense, yet moving along quickly enough so that readers would not become impatient. One of Hammett’s techniques for accomplishing this was his masterful use of dialogue. Hammett’s story lines are often advanced efficiently by conversation between characters, and Hammett’s detectives most often seek truth by asking people questions. “The House in Turk Street” is no exception in this regard, though for much of this particular story, the Op is reduced to being a spectator.


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Dooley, Dennis. Dashiell Hammett. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1984.

Gale, Robert L. A Dashiell Hammett Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Gregory, Sinda. Private Investigations: The Novels of Dashiell Hammett. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1985.

Hammett, Jo. Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers. Edited by Richard Layman, with Julie M. Rivett. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001.

Johnson, Diane. Dashiell Hammett: A Life. New York: Random House, 1983.

Layman, Richard. Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli-Clark, 1981.

Mellen, Joan. Hellman and Hammett: The Legendary Passion of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Metress, Christopher, ed. The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

Nolan, William F. Hammett: A Life at the Edge. New York: Congdon and Weed, 1983.

Nyman, Jopi. Hard-Boiled Fiction and Dark Romanticism. New York: Peter Lang, 1998.

Panek, LeRoy Lad. Reading Early Hammett: A Critical Study of the Fiction Prior to “The Maltese Falcon.” Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004.

Symons, Julian. Dashiell Hammett. San Diego, Calif.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.

Wolfe, Peter. Beams Falling: The Art of Dashiell Hammett. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1980.