By Dashiell Hammet
This, I understand, is one of Hammets earlier novels, and it shows. The way in which the story is written defies convention to create a curious mystery which establishes the main character as some one far more interesting than your average noir detective. He has a wife, a regular job and interests beyond the story, and these lend an additional depth to the character than had he been your typical whiskey drinking gumshoe, alone in his office, watching the neon lights below.
The story was interesting, and although I guessed who the murderer was, it became apparent to me about half way through, I didn't get the twist at the end at all.
All in all a good read. I have a few more noir detective books to go through, but I can already see that Raymond Chandler is still my favourite, and Hammett, Spillane and Mosely are all in joint second place, with Mosely trailing ever so slightly. I have a just bought a new novel with a new noir author, Ross Macdonald; so that will be next in line (after I've read 'A Princess of Mars').