RARA-AVIS: re: Hammett's introduction to the 1934 FALCON

From: Mark Coggins ( coggins@immortalgame.com)
Date: 05 Jun 2003

>Brigid O'Shaugnessy had two originals, one an artist, the other a woman
>who came to Pinkerton's San Francisco office to hire an operative to
>discharge her housekeeper, but neither of these women was a criminal.

Well, I think Hammett was being a bit disingenuous here.

The edition of his collected letters (that came out in 2000) says that O'Shaugnessy is based on Peggy O'Toole, who was the secretary for Albert Samuels, the jeweler for whom Hammett wrote advertising copy in San Francisco in the 1920's.

There are a couple of his letters to her in the book (he wrote about 20, but most were destroyed), and it's pretty clear they were having an affair. Here's a little quote from one:

"I love you more when I'm with you than when I'm away; and more when I'm touching you than when I'm merely looking at you; and most of all when I'm tasting you."

Sounds like a pretty good model for O'Shaugnessy!



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