The Dain Curse

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The Dain Curse
DainCurse.JPG
First edition cover
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 written by Dashiell Hammett and published in 1929. Before its publication in book form, it was serialized in Black Mask (1928–29).[1]

Plot summary[edit]

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 young 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[edit]

  • The Continental Op – Private Detective (called in the miniseries "Hamilton Nash")
  • Madison Andrews – Leggett's attorney
  • Claude Baker – Witnessed Gabrielle driving away in Quesada
  • Mrs. Begg – The Leggetts' previous servant
  • Eric Carter – Collinson's alias in Quesada
  • Ralph Coleman – Member of Temple of the Holy Grail cult
  • Eric Collinson – Gabrielle's fiancé, employed at Spear, Camp and Duffy
  • Hubert Collinson – Eric's father
  • Laurence Collinson – Eric's older brother
  • Dick Cotton – Quesada marshal
  • Alice Dain – Mrs. Leggett's maiden name
  • Lily Dain – Alice's sister, Gabrielle's mother
  • Warren Daley – The Leggetts' neighbor
  • Debro – "Carters'" nearest neighbor in Quesada
  • Sheriff Feeney – In Quesada
  • Mrs. Fink – Employee at Temple of the Holy Grail
  • Tom Fink – Special effects man at Temple of the Holy Grail
  • Owen Fitzstephan – A writer and friend of Nash
  • Dick Foley – Continental detective
  • Big-foot Gerber – Cigar store owner
  • Aaronia Haldorn – Joseph's wife
  • Joseph Haldorn – Head of Temple of the Holy Grail cult
  • Manuel Haldorn – Joseph and Aaronia's son
  • Watt Halstead – Of Halstead and Beauchamp, a jeweler
  • Mr. & Mrs. Harper – Gabrielle's mysterious friends
  • Minnie Hershey – The Leggett's servant
  • Jacques Labaud – Mayenne/Leggett's fellow convict/escapee
  • Gabrielle Leggett – daughter of Edgar Leggett
  • Edgar Leggett – Gabrielle's father, scientist
  • Mrs. Leggett, née Alice Dain
  • Mickey Linehan – Continental operative
  • Walter Martin – Mayenne/Leggett's alias
  • Al Mason – Continental operative
  • Maurice Pierre de Mayenne – Edgar Legett's real name
  • Mary Nunez – "Carters'" servant
  • O'Gar – Homicide detail detective-sergeant, SFPD (San Francisco Police Department)
  • Mrs. Priestly – The Leggetts' neighbor
  • Pat Reddy – O'Gar's partner, SFPD
  • Dr. Riese – Doctor responding to finding of Leggett's body, Gabrielle's doctor
  • Mrs. Livingston Rodman – Member of Temple of the Holy Grail cult
  • Ben Rolly – Quesada deputy sheriff
  • Harry Ruppert – Upton's employee
  • Rhino Tingley – Minnie's boyfriend
  • Louis Upton – Private detective from New York
  • Vernon – Quesada district attorney
  • Harve Whidden – Saw Gabrielle and a man driving away in Quesada

TV mini-series adaptation[edit]

The novel was adapted into a CBS television miniseries in 1978, by director E.W. Swackhamer and producer Martin Poll, which starred James Coburn, Hector Elizondo, Jean Simmons, Jason Miller, Nancy Addison (as Gabriella) and in a brief part, a pre-Star Trek Brent Spiner.[2] 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 now available.

References[edit]

External links[edit]