The curse of House Dain

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The curse of the house Dain (Engl. The Dain Curse ) is an American novel by Dashiell Hammett from the year 1929 . It is his second book after Red Harvest , which appeared in the same year. The story is divided into three almost independent parts: The Dains , The Temple and Quesada .


It starts with eight small diamonds disappearing and the “nameless detective” from Continentals ( Continental Op as an abbreviation for Continental Operative ) is entrusted with investigations by the responsible insurance company. One of the stones can be found quickly (the novel begins with it), but from then on it becomes more and more complicated and there is more and more death. Later, the Continental man ends up in the course of his investigative work in the temple of an obscure sect and finally in Mexico.

Narrative method

Like the stories about the Continental-Op and the first Continental-Op novel Rote Harvest , Der Fluch des Haus Dain (according to the terminology of Franz K. Stanzel ) corresponds to the type of personal first-person narration . The detective tells the plot himself, from his own perspective, without a narrative situation specified in more detail within the fiction, and without allowing the reader to look into his reflections. While Hammett chose the narrative form in the third person for his next two - probably best known - novels, The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key , with his last novel, The Thin Man , he returned to the one in The Curse of the House of Dain and the other Continental Op texts practiced the first-person form.


Hammett dedicated the novel, which begins with the search for diamonds, to the jeweler Albert S. Samuels, for whom he had worked as a copywriter. For the fictional characters, he chose names of his former colleagues in Samuels' company.