Our frequent Guest Blogger Tenderloin Terry Zobeck returns — finishing off his examination of the first set of pure text Hammett stories he had in his files, to see what sort of blue pencil Frederic Dannay put them to as he assembled ten paperback collections many moons ago. With this milestone achieved, Terry is now on the prowl for the rest of the short Hammett fiction in the original print appearances, to complete the job. Take it, Terry:
I began these posts to restore the pure texts of Hammett’s short stories a few months ago.
Now I’ve come to the end of the original 12 stories for which I own the pulps or slicks in which they first appeared. I can report that these last two stories — “Albert Pastor at Home” from the premier issue of Esquire (Autumn 1933) and “His Brother’s Keeper” from Collier’s (February 17, 1934) — were untouched editorially by Dannay when he included “Pastor” in Nightmare Town (1948) and “Keeper” in The Adventures of Sam Spade (1945).
However, we’ve not come to the end of the pursuit of the pure texts. This past week I acquired a copy of the November 1, 1923 issue of Black Mask, which contains the obscure Continental Op story “It,” one of two Op stories that haven’t been reprinted since Dannay collected them in his digest volumes of Hammett stories (the other one, if you recall, is “Death and Company”). Dannay reprinted “It” in Woman in the Dark (1951) under the title “The Black Hat that Wasn’t There.”
Next time we look for pure texts, we’ll see if Dannay made changes to “It.”