New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1934. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher’s olive cloth, spine and upper board stamped in blue and red, top edged stained purple, ivory endpapers.
First edition of hardboiled novelist Dashiell Hammett’s final book. A seminal figure in crime fiction, Hammett spent his early twenties as a detective at the Pinkerton Agency in San Francisco. He went on to produce roughly ninety stories and five novels, garnering acclaim for his deadpan dialogue, gritty style, and ironic humor. Set in New York City in the last days of prohibition, this detective story/comedy of manners revolves around retired private eye Nick Charles and his high society wife Nora as they are drawn into a murder investigation. The story, like much of his work, was inspired by his own experiences with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, playwright Lillian Hellman. Called Hammett’s "most breathless story" by Sinclair Lewis, the novel inspired a series of comedy-mystery films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Lacking scarce original dust jacket. Bookseller's ticket to rear pastedown. Embrownig to endpapers from binder's glue. Spine slightly rolled, light dampstaining to top edge, causing bleeding of topstain to top edge of upper board, light rubbing and soiling to cloth. Good. Item #5444