Your Humble Blogger is a trifle ambivalent about this news that Dashiell Hammett’s lost works found in Texas. First of all, not so much lost, as they aren’t stories that we knew about but couldn’t find copies of. Nobody was looking for them. Nobody knew they existed. They are (presumably) stories that Mr. Hammett didn’t want to publish, didn’t brag about to his friends in the brag about to his friends in letters (which have been published and researched extensively), didn’t sell for the drink money he needed quite badly by the end.
Now, he may just have forgotten about them. The man wrote a lot of stories; it’s possible that (f’r’ex) he wrote them in the late 20s, decided they weren’t the sort of thing that Black Mask wanted, shoved them in a trunk and forgot about them by the time he was scraping nickels together for the bail fund of the Civil Rights Congress. Or he got stubborn about the whole not-being-a-writer-anymore thing, whilst still writing stories, and just refused to send them out and get payment for them.
Or they stink.
The last time I got hold of a book of Mr. Hammett’s Lost Stories, most of them stunk. Actually, most of them weren’t even properly stories at all. But there were two good stories—actually, one good story and one great story. Of course, neither of those stories were lost in any sense at all, having both been printed in anthologies. Still. It’s possible that these new stories include a gem. For which reason Your Humble Blogger will read them, when they become available.
This means that I am committed to reading fifteen stories (eventually, possibly not all at once) of which I expect to enjoy no more than three. At most. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I enjoy none of them at all.
So, you see. Ambivalent. Which, of course, is the default state for Your Humble Blogger at all times, so there you are.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,