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Extended Audio Sample The Dain Curse Audiobook, by Dashiell Hammett Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,531 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dashiell Hammett Narrator: Richard Ferrone Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN: 9781482981421
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The Continental Op is a short, squat, and utterly unsentimental tank of a private detective. Miss Gabrielle Dain Leggett is young, wealthy, and a devotee of morphine and religious cults. She has an unfortunate effect on the people around her: they have a habit of dying violently. Is Gabrielle the victim of a family curse? Or is the truth about her weirder and infinitely more dangerous? The Dain Curse is one of the Continental Op’s most bizarre cases and a tautly crafted masterpiece of suspense.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Everything about the Leggett diamond heist indicated to the Continental Op that it was an inside job. From the stray diamond found in the yard to the eyewitness accounts of a ‘strange man’ casing the house, everything was just too pat. Gabrielle Dain-Leggett has enough secrets to fill a closet, and when she disappears shortly after the robbery, she becomes the Op’s prime suspect. But her father, Edgar Leggett, keeps some strange company himself and has a dark side the moon would envy. Before he can solve the riddle of the diamond theft, the Continental Op must first solve the mystery of this strange family.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Not just the first of the tough school of crime-writing but the best…Hammett saw the rotten underbelly and wanted others to see it.”

    Times (London)

  • “Hammett’s heroes are not merely tough; they often confront violence with full knowledge of its inherently corrupting potential.”

    The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

  • “Cool, tough, and hard-boiled in attitude, [Hammett’s] works employ Hemingway’s mood and spare, realistic dialogue in the genre of the detective story.”

    The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature

  • “There’s plenty of reason to suppose that Chandler wouldn’t have created Marlowe, Macdonald wouldn’t have created Archer, Nebel wouldn’t have created Donahue, etc., etc., etc., had Hammett not first created the Op.”

    Jim Doherty

  • “The Op, the durable survivor, just goes about his hired business and underplays his hand before he applies the thumbscrews…unhampered by either imagination or fear.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In The Dain Curse the Op returns in a more melodramatic tale involving jewel theft, drugs, and a religious cult.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darusha Wehm | 2/18/2014

    " This novel is very much three interconnected stories in one, which felt a little strange at times, but Hammett pulls it all together in the end. The reveal has a little of the feel of deus ex machina, but it does make sense in the context of the story. A fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Busick | 2/16/2014

    " This one would make a good Quentin Tarantino or Oliver Stone movie. Lots of blood, dead bodies and double-crosses. And drug abuse. Everything they'd need. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave | 2/8/2014

    " Liked this much better than Red Harvest. That was just senseless violence, this had much more of a mystery-type plot that was really fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chaz | 2/5/2014

    " Thank you, Hammett! There's now no longer any doubt in my mind that this man was a master of detective fiction. Gabrielle Leggett is an endearing character who originally I thought was just another femme fatale who has a strong taste for morphine and cults... but this is only on the surface. After about 70 pages I thought I had everything figured out and that this long and tangled crime thriller was simple and direct. not so. The Continental Op is a tough detective and no 'sentimental sap' he is a character who functions purely on logic and facts. Another quick fun read that bring you back to the 1920s and simpler but just as ruthless times. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frances | 2/1/2014

    " This book was written in 1929 so is not quite pc! A lot happens for a small book. Keeps you guessing to the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe | 1/26/2014

    " Pretty mediocre. I think I need to read one of the more acclaimed Continental Op books, like Red Harvest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory | 1/22/2014

    " I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped to be... the plot was inane "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 1/20/2014

    " I think Dashiell Hammett made this novel into a type of literary impossible bottle. I admire his work, and generally followed the puzzled steps, but at the end just think he went a strata too deep. Don't get me wrong, I DO love Hammett and liked this book a lot. It just isn't in the same class as: Red Harvest, The Thin Man or The Maltese Falcon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Vizcarra | 1/14/2014

    " I had to sleep with the lights on after reading this! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sydney More | 1/2/2014

    " After eating up 'the Maltese Falcon' I was eager to try out some more of Hammett's work. I admittedly haven't finished this book, giving up at the halfway mark, as I found the inherent racism and first person perspective incredibly difficult to stomach. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Goble | 12/16/2013

    " Lots of fun, even spooky at some points. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin Kemmis | 12/15/2013

    " Awesome classic crime. Quick pace, good action, lots of blood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neilie J | 12/8/2013

    " I can see where this one would be iffy by today's standards, considering its racist language. That said, I totally did not see the twist in this one coming and thoroughly enjoyed being surprised. Tight, well-written, totally engaging. Made me go to bed at night wanting to be a gumshoe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jon | 12/4/2013

    " Silly but entertaining detective story. Probably my least favorite of the Dashiell Hammett books, but still OK. Kind of cluttered with too many characters, and the plot was a little convoluted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russell Olson | 12/3/2013

    " Biff! Continental Op is the greatest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mommalibrarian | 11/2/2013

    " This just went on and on. Maybe the problem was I could not hear Borgart saying the lines. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Todd Johnson | 8/4/2013

    " Not quite on the level of Red Harvest but still an enjoyable read. All the typical Hammett descriptions are at work . . . cleanly written, great discriptions and one hard boiled detective. Perfect for travel reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 4/10/2013

    " This was not my favorite of the Hammett oeuvre. Lumpy plotting and a lazy resolution. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle | 1/19/2013

    " Reading for school...Here we go... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 AJ | 5/12/2012

    " the rambling, multiple connected mysteries were an enjoyable read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer (Baker) McMillin | 3/17/2012

    " Not as good as Red Harvest...but still really enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 2/27/2012

    " This one was just odd. Interesting, but oddball characters and situations, double-crosses, a drug-addiction that seemed to come out of nowhere, old murders that didn't make much sense but were explained by jealousy or insanity or something. Not one of the more famous ones. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joy | 10/24/2011

    " Another Hammett detective story that I liked better than some of his books, but it's just hard not to compare these books to the fast-paced Parker books. Good description of someone who needed to shave: "He was three or four days behind the razor." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darusha | 8/6/2011

    " This novel is very much three interconnected stories in one, which felt a little strange at times, but Hammett pulls it all together in the end. The reveal has a little of the feel of deus ex machina, but it does make sense in the context of the story. A fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 3/14/2011

    " Reads like one of those 20's noir films. A bit wordy at times but an enjoyable mystery with plenty of plot twists.

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dheart | 2/12/2011

    " It is a good book, many plot twisters, just not my type of crime novel... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Russell | 1/27/2011

    " Biff! Continental Op is the greatest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 8/14/2010

    " I didn't love it as much as Red Harvest but it was still great. The Continental Op is my favorite Hammett detective, I think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Desiree | 8/11/2010

    " i really like the book alot and it was very intestein and then
    it keep me on my toes for the reading i did and plan on reading
    the rest of the book s when i can ty for writtng it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynecia | 7/24/2010

    " Goodreads Project #2: I never put much stock in "mystery" novels 'til I discovered noir and Hammett--by then end of this book I'll be talkin' like Bogart in "...Falcon" (LOL) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 AJ | 7/16/2010

    " the rambling, multiple connected mysteries were an enjoyable read "

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About the Author
Author Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He is widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time. In addition to The Maltese Falcon, his pioneering novels include Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man (1934).

About the Narrator

Richard Ferrone, an Audie Award winner, has consistently received high praise from critics and fans alike for his audiobook performances for over twenty years. He has performed on and off Broadway and in regional theaters. His television appearances include Law & Order, Against the Law, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live.