Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Fl-Ha)

Hammett, Dashiell

detective story left telling

(US, 1894–1961)

Hammett was a tough left-wing radical who left school at 13 for a string of unremarkable jobs that led to eight years as an operative for the Pinkerton detective agency, a career move that provided him with unrivalled knowledge of criminal investigation. Hammett, like Chandler, began writing pulp magazine stories, but his greatest achievement is his five novels. Stylistically, Hammett brought a dramatic starkness to the detective story, concentrating on telling his story and delineating his characters with telling detail rather than extravagant description. Begin with Red Harvest (1929), a blood-soaked narrative of rival gangs, crooked cops, and a detective who cleans up the town. Continue with the much-filmed The Maltese Falcon (1930), a intricate story of greed and double-cross, The Glass Key (1931), a novel as much about the complex demands of friendship as about crime, and The Thin Man (1934), a sparkling and charming read.

Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Chester Himes. See CRIME  VM

Hammick, Georgina [next] [back] Hamilton, Patrick

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