Created by Dashiell Hammett
ALEXANDER RUSH is nobody's idea of a looker. In his one and only recorded case, he's constantly referred to as "ugly" and "fat." But his appeal will be great to anyone who considers themselves a fan of hardboiled detective literature, for one simple reason. This man, with a "framed certificate that licensed (him) to pursue the calling of private detective in the city of Baltimore" is the missing link between Dashiell Hammett's two greatest creations, THE CONTINENTAL OP and SAM SPADE .
Like the Op he's not possessed of a visage or physique that would allow much confidence in his abilities, but shares a similar committment to his clients, and like Spade, he displays more than a little moral ambiguity, something he actually encourages. At one point, he even makes a speech that seems like a forerunner to Spade's exhortation not to think he's quite as crooked as he appears to be.
His one case, "The Assistant Murderer," a twisty-turvy complicated plot full of coincidence, lost secrets, love from afar, and treachery originally appeared way back in 1926, and recently resurfaced in 1999's Nightmare Town collection.
Hammett's one of the seminal creators in detective fiction. As if writing The Maltese Falcon, which introduced Sam Spade wasn't enough, he was also responsible for The Continental Op and The Thin Man , the novel that introduced husband and wife sleuths Nick and Nora Charles to the world, and became the basis for a string of popular movies.
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