The big killing

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The big kill and detective at Continental’s are the original titles under which 17 short stories by Dashiell Hammett from the years 1923 to 1930 - with the exception of Tulip , which only appeared in 1966 - were published as collective editions in German translations.

In the 16 crime stories mentioned here - Tulip (1966) is none - remains, as is usually the case with Hammett, the detective without a name, and very little is learned about him. He's not very tall, rather plump, around 180 pounds and no longer very young.

With this description, it can be assumed, Hammett wanted to avoid leaving an autobiographical impression.

Almost all of the stories take place in San Francisco .

All narratives are the property of the heirs of Lillian Hellman , Hammett's longtime partner.

Title of the individual stories as well as a brief summary

  • Corkscrew Canon ( Corkscrew , 1925)
The detective comes to a dusty town in Arizona because the sheriffs have become scarce there and he is supposed to temporarily accept the post of deputy. This is almost a Wild West story.
  • The whatnot chicks ( The WHOSIS Kid , 1925)
In the sports palace sits a guy with wrinkled ears, behind that, recognizing him by those ears, from Boston, our man from Continentals. After leaving the ongoing boxing event, the detective follows the guy purely intuitively, which turns out to be the right step.
  • Golden Horseshoe ( The Golden Horseshoe , 1924)
A lawyer instructs the Continental OP to look for someone who, as he emphasizes, “is not a criminal”. But who believes a lawyer?
  • The Great Transfer ( The Big Knockover , 1926)
The detective notices that more and more foreign gangsters are appearing in the city. When several banks etc. are robbed at once, with a medium bloodbath, he realizes what's going on here.
  • The House on Turk Street ( The House in Turk Street , 1924)
In search of an important witness, at least that's the pretext, our protagonist rattles through one house after the other on Turk Street. Until he rings the wrong bell.
  • The girl with the silver eyes ( The Girl with the Silver Eyes , 1924)
Continued from The House on Turk Street
  • The Main Death ( The Main Death , 1927)
Main is dead, his boss hires the Continental Detective Agency to find out why and why. The " Frisco " police are no smarter either.
  • The Farewell Murder ( The Farewell Murder , 1930)
The only one who gets off the train at Farewell is on business. Spooky or reality, that is the question.
  • The Tenth Clue ( The Tenth Clew , 1924)
The man from Continentals waits in vain for his employer; just before he leaves, it turns out that he has just died. The multitude of clues is confusing, except for the tenth.
  • A strong piece ( The Gatewood Caper , also as: Crooked Souls , 1923)
"My daughter was kidnapped yesterday"; The man doesn't want to hear questions, he wants to see results. Not an easy task for the Continental OP.
  • Fly paper ( Fly Paper , 1929)
It's about a girl going astray, the job comes from her father in New York, actually it's just about keeping an eye on her until she is suddenly dead.
  • Freight for China ( Dead Yellow Women , 1925)
The detective is hired by a young Chinese woman who was ambushed in her own home, killing one of her servants. His investigations lead him to Chinatown (San Francisco), behind a red door and to an opaque opponent.
  • Embers on the face ( The Scorched Face , 1925)
  • Kingmaker ( This King Business , 1928)
For once, the story does not take place in the USA, but in Muravia, a fictional state in the Balkans . A young American has got it into his head to become king here by means of his not inconsiderable fortune. His uncle instructs Continental to investigate.
  • Tulip ( Tulip , 1966)
This is actually a piece of Hammett's autobiography, but not quite complete. The last part was completed by L. Hellman.
  • How Couffignal Was Gone ( The Gutting of Couffignal , 1925)
A wedding is taking place on an island that is mostly inhabited by very rich people. The Continental detective is assigned to keep an eye on the wedding gifts.
But that evening a gang of gangsters decided to rob the entire island, there is a lot to do for the man from Continental.
  • $ 106,000 Blood Money ( $ 106,000 Blood Money , 1927)
Continuation of The Big Kill

German-language editions

Stories: Foreword by Lillian Hellman; How Couffignal Was Cleared Out; Fly paper; Glow on face; Kingmakers; A strong piece
  • Freight for China , German by Antje Friedrichs, Elizabeth Gilbert and Walter E. Richartz, Diogenes, ISBN 3-257-20912-6
Stories: Freight for China; Corkscrew canon; Tulip
Stories: The Big Kill; $ 106,000 blood money; The tenth clue
Stories: The Golden Horseshoe; The house on Turk Street; The girl with the silver eyes
Stories: The thing's chick; The Main Death; The Farewell Murder ; Afterword by Steven Marcus