Author: Dashiell Hammett
Original language: English
A young, frightened, foreign woman appears at the door of an isolated house. The man and woman inside take her in. Other strangers appear in pursuit of the girl. Menace is in the air.
Originally published in 1933, Hammett’s Woman in the Dark shows the author at the peak of his narrative powers. With an introduction by Robert B. Parker, the author of the celebrated Spenser novels.
From Publishers Weekly
Other than Nick Charles in The Thin Man , Hammett’s protagonists have never been particularly successful romantically. “Brazil,” in this story, is with mixed results. Luise Fischer stumbles into Brazil’s remote country house in the middle of the night, running away from her boyfriend, Kane Robson, and his bodyguard, Conroy, who arrive on her heels. In the fracas that ensues when she refuses to leave with them, they kill her great Dane. Brazil beats them up, leaving Conroy seriously injured. Brazil and Luise flee to Brazil’s friends in the city, where the police find them, shoot Brazil as he escapes and arrest Luise on trumped-up charges. Out on bail, she discovers that Brazil is at a sanatoriumrun by a friend of Robson’s. She goes back to Robson; the man she loves is under his power. First published in Liberty magazine in 1933 and issued as a pulp paperback in the 1950s, the novella is short enough to read in an hour. There are a few vintage Hammett lines, but they are overwhelmed by stilted dialogue; this slight effort has none of the power of The Maltese Falcon or The Glass Key .