RARA-AVIS: Hammett's Women (again)

Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 11:49:29 -0400

Not that I'm obsessed with the issue or anything (and considering that Lillian Hellman is the source, it may be suspect), but I stumbled across this in Hugh Eames' SLEUTHS, INC., and I thought I'd pass it along, given the thread of a few days ago....

"When Gertrude Stein came to America in 1935, she was especially interested in meeting two people, one of whom was Hammett. A dinner was arranged in Beverly Hills. There, Lillian Hellman reported,
<<Miss Stein told Dash he was the only American writer who wrote well about women.>> "

However, this intrigued me, so I dug a bit further. In Stein's EVERYBODY'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, she writes

"I never was interested in cross word puzzles or any kind of puzzles but I do like detective stories. I never try to guess who has done the crime and if I did I would be sure to guess wrong but I liked somebody being dead and how it moves along and Dashiell Hammett was all that and more..."

She goes on to relate the dinner and some of the discussion, and Hellman's account sounds downright plausible.

Damn! Citing sources, using quotations, relying on an index...I'm starting to act like a professor, or something. Please forgive me....and don't worry, I'll be back soon with my usual boneheaded opinions soon enough.

And it turns out a video store near here has a copy of HIGH AND LOW. I think I'll check it out. Thanks for the heads-up.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ IT'S OFFICIAL! October is Dashiell Hammett Month. Don't play the sap for anyone.

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