Despite the good press from authors I like (Donald Westlake said, "It was a sad, lonely, lost book, that pretended to be cheerful and aware and full of good fellowship, and I hadn't known you could do that: seem to be telling this, but really telling that; three-dimensional writing, like three-dimensional chess." Raymond Chandler said of Hammett, "He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that never seemed to have been written before.") I couldn't finish this book. I got a little more than half way through and still didn't care about the characters or the plot and the piles of more interesting books scattered around the house were calling me. Thanks, Hammett, for inspiring Westlake and Chandler, but your book goes back to the library unfinished. I'd rather read Dorothy B. Hughes any day.