The Dain Curse

The Dain Curse

Cover of the first edition
Author Dashiell Hammett
Country United States
Language English
Genre Mystery, crime
Published 1929 (Alfred A. Knopf)
Media type Print (hardcover)
Preceded by Red Harvest
Followed by The Maltese Falcon

The Dain Curse is a novel by Dashiell Hammett, published in 1929. Before its publication in book form, it was serialized in Black Mask magazine in 1928 and 1929.[1]

Serial publication

The Dain Curse was originally serialized in four installments[2] in the pulp magazine Black Mask:

Plot summary

The detective known only as The Continental Op investigates a theft of diamonds from the Leggett family of San Francisco. The plot involves a supposed curse on the Dain family, said to inflict sudden and violent deaths upon those in their vicinity. Edgar Leggett's wife is a Dain, as is his daughter Gabrielle Leggett. The detective untangles a web of robberies, lies and murder. It is discovered that Gabrielle Leggett is also involved in a mysterious religious cult and is addicted to drugs.

Gabrielle escapes from the cult and marries her fiancé, but bloodshed continues to follow them. The Continental Op protects Gabrielle and helps her recover from her morphine addiction. He finally discovers the reason behind all the mysterious, violent events surrounding Gabrielle and the Dains. The novel is structured in three parts, each concerning different mysteries—Part One, The Dains; Part Two, The Temple; and Part Three, Quesada.

Characters in The Dain Curse

TV mini-series adaptation

The novel was adapted into a CBS television miniseries in 1978, by director E.W. Swackhamer and producer Martin Poll, which starred James Coburn (as Hamilton Nash), Hector Elizondo (as Ben Feeney), Jean Simmons (as Aaronia Haldorn), Jason Miller (as Owen Fitzstephan), Beatrice Straight (as Alice Leggett), Paul Stewart (as the old man), Nancy Addison (as Gabrielle Leggett), Tom Bower (as Sergeant O'Gar), David Canary (as Jack Santos), Beeson Carroll (as Marshall Cotton), Roland Winters (as Hubert Collinson) and a pre-Star Trek Brent Spiner (as Tom Fink).[3] It received three Emmy Award nominations (one for the director). The script, by Robert W. Lenski, won the 1978 Edgar Award for Best Television Feature or Miniseries. An edited version of the series was released on VHS in the 1990s; a complete, full-length, two-disc DVD edition is available.


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