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Lost Stories by Dashiell Hammett


  • Selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of 10 books recommended as Christmas gifts for mystery fans.
  • Selected by Thrilling as one of 9 books recommended as Christmas gifts for private eye fans.
  • A featured alternate selection of The Book-of-the-Month Club.
  • A featured alternate selection of the Mystery Guild.
  • Selected as "Pierce's Pick of the Week" in January Magazine

Otto Penzler, New York Sun
"[Joe] Gores writes about [Hammett's style] in his excellent introduction to what will be a hugely important book to those of us who think Dashiell Hammett is a major American literary figure-which should be everyone who has graduated from 'See Spot run.'
         "Lost Stories (Vince Emery Productions, $24.95, 352 pages) includes 21 stories, most of which have never been seen except by the most dedicated scholars. In addition to the fiction, Emery provides vital biographical and bibliographical commentary throughout, and the volume belongs on the shelf of every detective fiction reader and collector."
         "This important book deserves the loudest cheer since the women's prison learned it was getting Martha Stewart. It is almost shocking to realize that several of these stories never had been published in book form prior to this collection. It is a book to be read with pleasure."

Connie Fletcher, Booklist
(Starred review) "At first glance, this seems like another bottom-line-driven attempt to collect a famous writer's justly neglected early works. This time, though, that isn't the case. These 21, long-out-of-print stories find Hammett at or near the top of his game, his signature hard-boiled style shining brightly. Hammett's very first story, "The Barber and His Wife," from 1922, is here, too, as is his last story, for Collier's, "This Little Pig" (1934), which is presented both with the published ending and with a newly discovered alternate ending. While many anthologies are fairly leaden, with pat introductions presenting the stories, editor and publisher Emery does a fantastic job of bringing Hammett the accomplished writer and Hammett the struggling writer alive. He provides a running commentary, both before and after the stories, placing each work in the context of Hammett's life and development as a writer. There are some wonderful extra touches, too. For example, in the chapter devoted to Hammett's brief career as an advertising man in 1925* (after he temporarily gave up writing to feed his family), Emery includes illustrations of Hammett's ads, featuring the hilarious "The Advertising Man Writes a Love Letter." He also includes "The Thin Man and the Flack," a 1941 Cameraradio production (a radio play with photos) that capitalized on the success of The Thin Man by falsely claiming Hammett as the author. With an insightful introduction by mystery writer Joe Gores."

* This date is a slight error. Actually, Hammett stopped writing fiction at the end of 1925 to work as an advertising man from 1926 through the end of 1927.

J. Kingston Pierce, January Magazine
"A must-have for Hammett lovers."

Michael Rogers, Library Journal
(Starred review) "Lost might be an overstatement, but these 21 Hammett mysteries are tough to find elsewhere, and it's great having them together. The stories, which run the breadth of the author's career—from the 1920s through the 1940s—are buttressed by a swell introduction by fellow mystery writer and Hammett aficionado Joe Gores. Hammett's Lost Stories is must reading for mystery buffs."

John Grant, Crescent Blues
(four crescents-highest rating) "Lost Stories qualifies as essential reading for anyone interested in the development of the crime-fiction genre. As Emery points out, Hammett practically single-handedly invented the literary style that we now call noir. But even that underplays the importance of this book. Lost Stories offers a substantial insight into the development of American literature as a whole. Thank you, Vince Emery."

Kevin Burton Smith, Mystery Scene
"There's a book out there that should be essential reading for anyone who claims to be serious about crime fiction, and I don't care if you're a hard-boiled P.I. fan or a cat-hugging cozy lover. Dashiell Hammett is simply one of the greatest and most influential writers the genre has ever produced, a true original ranking right up there with Poe, [Conan] Doyle, Christie, and Chandler. Dashiell Hammett: Lost Stories is exactly what it purports to be-the ultimate collection of previously uncollected short stories, vignettes and various odds and sods, most of haven't been seen since the 20s and 30s.
         "Joe Gores, who did the intro, and Vince Emery, who offers running commentary on each piece, occasionally oversell their case, but their enthusiasm is contagious, and this is primal stuff, regardless of genre, an engaging look at a master writer developing his craft (and occasionally stumbling), trying to develop his own style, his own voice. It's all fascinating, and Emery's insightful play-by-play adds considerable wallop to the proceedings."

Laura Paisley, Ruminator
"Emery does do a wonderful, illuminating job of chronicling the life and times of the author and situating the stories within a larger context, giving what could have been a motley collection a sturdy backbone and an appeal to anyone interested in prewar American literature."

"It's Hammett, damn it, and anyone interested in the man or detective fiction in general could do far worse than this compelling book, with its savvy intro by Gores and fascinating and copious notes from editor Emery that put each story into often illuminating biographical and historical context."

Peter Handel, Pages
"A marvelous collection of previously unpublished works by the ever intriguing Pinkerton detective-turned-writer. What makes the compilation a cut above the usual is Emery's annotations to each story, placing it in a specific context of Hammett's life at the time of writing. Veteran crime novelist Joe Gores also contributes a lively and personal introduction. Great fun, but historically important, too."

P.J. Corkery, San Francisco Examiner
"Something new and nice. The devoted, diligent Emery gets high praise."

Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"This collection of 21 long-lost Hammett stories took my mind back to what's important, the incomparable writing. As Joe Gores says in his introduction, not only is Hammett wonderful to read, but his fiction 'has affected almost all subsequent American writers' work whether they know it or not.' Vince Emery presents the stories—detective fiction, satire, adventure tales—with biographical commentary and critical analysis, making this a necessary addition to any mystery library."

Jon L. Breen, Mystery Scene
"Joe Gores' brilliant introduction, in which he makes the case for Hammett as a major literary figure of wider influence than generally credited, and editor Emery's thorough biographical, historical, and critical notes introduce 21 little-known Hammett stories."

Gary Lovisi, Hardboiled
"[A] truly outstanding new book, Lost Stories is a gorgeous hardcover with 21 long-lost stories."

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Lost Stories is the first title in The Ace Performer Collection, a series of books by and about Dashiell Hammett, crowned "the ace performer" by his disciple Raymond Chandler.

8 illustrations, 38 photographs; 352 pages. Edited by Vince Emery. Trade hardcover edition publication date September 1, 2005, $24.95, ISBN 0-9725898-1-3.

Order Lost Stories from your local mystery bookstore, your local independent bookstore, and all major bookstores and online booksellers.

Booksellers order from Independent Publishers Group (IPG), (800) 888-4741, fax (312) 337-5985,

Publication of the trade hardcover edition was preceded by a deluxe limited edition. Click here for information about the deluxe limited edition.

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