Monday, March 30, 2015

MAPPING the Continental Op

Back in the Olden Days (in this case prior to 1979) our best resource for following the footsteps of the Continental Op was this series of maps on the backs of Dell paperbacks. These days, of course, we have Don Herron's far more informative Dashiell Hammett Tour guidebook (details below), but these maps are still mighty cool to look at. The one above, from The Continental Op, even walks us through a couple of the stories.

This one is especially cool in that it locates the apparently fictional island of Couffignal. 

Half Moon Bay ("Halfmoon Bay" in the book), scene of the climactic events in "The Girl with the Silver Eyes," turns out to be a real place.

"The Green Elephant" and "The Hairy One" (originally titled "Ber-Bulu") in the collection Dead Yellow Women are not Op stories.

On the back of The Creeping Siamese, location 3 refers to "The Nails in Mr. Cayterer," one of Hammett's two stories featuring a poet named Robin Thin, and 4 is the site of another non-Op story, "The Joke on Eloise Morey." 

This map, from the second Dell edition of Blood Money, focuses mainly on locations (1 thru 6) in the first story, "The Big Knockover." 4 thru 10 involve the sequel, "$106,000 Blood Money."

The first Dell edition of Blood Money gives us a close up of the climax of "$106,000 Blood Money," in which the Op goes up against the folks behind "The Big Knockover."

Here, however, is the book every Hammett fan should own. Don Herron provides not only maps, but photos, facts, trivia, background and historical perspective on every important location in every Hammett tale taking place in the environs of San Francisco.

It's great if you're visiting the city, and equally great if you're not, because reading it is almost like being there.

You can get yours here:
The Dashiell Hammett Tour: Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook (The Ace Performer Collection series)


Cap'n Bob said...

I knew there was a Half Moon Bay. I took a girl horseback riding there once. She was very pretty and it kills me that I can't remember her name.

Rick Robinson said...

I really like the Dell map back editions, have a few I've come across myself, though none of these. This is another in a series of top notch posts.

Oscar Case said...

I used to read these and pass them on; should have saved them just for the maps.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very cool.

Anonymous said...

It's great to have all the Hammett Dell maps in one place. However, in the entire run of Ruth Belew's wonderful maps, these (apart from Blood Money) are the most "mappish", utilitarian and unimaginative. The Golden Age mysteries, with cut-away floor plan views of manor houses or penthouse apartments are more interesting.
Art Scott