Hammett: Prepare Yourself for the Complete Op, In Time for Xmas

In case you haven’t noticed, Vintage Crime announces publication of The Big Book of the Continental Op — just in time for Xmas.

I have to check the proof to make sure it is up to my standards, but the idea is that — for the first time ever — you’ll get all the Op stories in one place. I presume the texts will be straight out of the pulps. Plus some nice extras, like the serialized Black Mask versions of the novels Red Harvest and The Dain Curse. Plus other stuff.

If you’ve been roaming These Mean Streets for awhile you know that I’ve been howling for a Complete Op for years now — and so has our “pure text” maven Terry Zobeck. All I can say is, Buy It, and show the New York publishers who’ve been sitting on their hands all these decades that here is a book the public wants.

All that money they could have been making. . . .

And for Hammett fans, or new Hammett fans, finally you don’t have to break your neck or your bankroll to read one of the greatest series ever to come out of the pulps.

If I have any quibbles, I’ll let you know. Terry Zobeck got a proof, too, and noticed that in the bio blurbs on the back cover and front of the book some flunky for the publisher put down the name as “Dashiell Samuel Hammett” — of course it’s Samuel Dashiell Hammett.

“Ouch!” quoth Terry. “That’s embarrassing.”

Yeah, but he popped in a correction. And maybe someday that’ll be a “point” marking the early proof copies.

After years of making the case for the Complete Op, I think that Terry and I can saddle up and ride off into the sunset.

What’s the line from The Magnificent Seven?

Our job here is done.

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