The Continental Op


We are in full-on teething mode at chez Sattin, so I write this from the couch with Dash attached to me in the sling. It’s hot as hell (considering it’s about 90 outside and we don’t have air conditioning) and he barely fits in the thing, but it’s soothing to him so there we are. A sleeping teething baby is a good thing. Prior to this I tried giving him a pizza crust to gnaw on which proved a HUGE winner and caused an equally HUGE hissy fit when I finally threw it out. Amen to the sling.

There’s something else I’d like to share with you. On the built-in bookshelves in our Craftsman-style Cape, I have a strange habit of randomly choosing one book to display face-out. I’m not running a bookstore or a library, but for some reason I enjoy this little habit. It’s like giving each book a moment- or a month- to shine. Plus, it reminds me to readthebooksweownforgod’s sakeanddon’tbuyanymore!

Without further ado, may I present the Book of the Month and its’ opening passage:

the continental op dashiell hammett book 1945

“It was a wandering daughter job.
The Hambletons had been for several generations a wealthy and decently prominent New York family. There was nothing in the Hambleton history to account for Sue, the youngest member of the clan. She grew out of childhood with a kink that made her dislike the polished side of life, like the rough. By the time she was twenty-one, in 1926, she definitely preferred Tenth Avenue to Fifth, grifters to bankers, and Hymie the Riveter to the Honorable Cecil Windown, who had asked her to marry him.”

Dashiell Hammett is pretty greatly known for inventing the modern detective novel and not-so-greatly known as being the inspiration for the name of my son. Almost no one guesses right, which leads me to believe sales of Dashiell Hammet books aren’t so hot.
Neil would like me to add this: though it might have been inspirational for me, in truth, I never told Neil about it since we couldn’t agree on one single name for our baby. (Eli? No. Monroe? No. Jacob? No.) I kept it under wraps assuming it would never pass muster. Then, Neil discovered it in a baby name book (amazingly, because most of those books regurgitate the same names over and over and none of them had Dashiell listed) and called me from the bookstore. “How about Dashiell?” he asked. It was a huge moment for us, what with finally naming our beautiful son-to-be. And as it turns out, he doesn’t look like an Eli, a Monroe, or a Jacob anyway.

This 1945 edition of The Continental Op marks the beginning of my Hammett collection which will ultimately go to Dash. I wonder if he’ll read them or just roll his eyes at me.


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