RARA-AVIS: Hammett's non-fiction

EJM Duggan (ejmd@mcmail.com)
Fri, 05 Feb 1999 08:30:43 -0800 On 04 Feb 99 james.doherty@gsa.gov wrote:

> Re Duane's question below:
>> "I wondered whether Hammett ever wrote any non-fiction, particularly
>> about actual crimes -- perhaps info on some of the cases he
>> investigated as a Pinkerton."
> Hammett wrote one article, something along the lines of "Memoirs of a
> Private Detective" for, I believe, *Saturday Review*. It was
> reprinted in *The Art of the Mystery Story* edited by Howard Haycraft
> in the mid-40s.

Find it at <http://www.ejmd.mcmail.com/secret.htm>

None of the cases Hammett would've written up as an operative are known
to be extant.
One of the Hammett biogs (probably Layman's _Shadow Man_) discusses

> One of his Continental Op stories, "Who Killed Bob
> Teal?" was rejected by *Black Mask*, so he added a paragraph at the
> beginning asserting that the story was true, with names and locales
> changed, and re-submitted it to *True Detective* where it a appeared
> as a truce crime article. How much it was based on an actual case is
> anyone's guess.

A search of the Baltimore newspaper archives for the period 1917-1920
might throw up a lead on this.

> The plot involved the Op trying to solve the murder
> of his partner in circumstances virtually identical to those
> surrounding the murder of Miles Archer in *The Maltese Falcon*.

Except Spade does not find/look for the conclusive mud on Brigid's shoe.
She would've had time to clean 'em up though before skipping to Coronet.


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