Friday, May 27, 2011

Dashiell Hammett

"I've been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of."

The great hardboiled author, a former Pinkerton himself, was born on May 27, 1894. His glory days were the '20s and '30s; his last novel, The Thin Man, was published in 1934, although he lived until 1961, often in poor health. There's a lot of myth surrounding Hammett, especially his relationship with Lillian Hellman. And he refused to name names in the red-hunting 1950s, and spent time in jail for it. What survives is the books, and the wonderful characters. You can get a full biography of Hammett at Thrilling Detective.

Hammett only wrote the one Thin Man novel, but it was the basis for a successful film series and, later, a television series. Word is that Johnny Depp is going to take on the role of Nick in an upcoming remake; no Nora has yet been cast.

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