RARA-AVIS: RE: Pinkerton literary influence on Hammett

From: Vince Emery ( vince@emery.com)
Date: 12 Dec 2003

miker wrote:

> I think that one of the strongest Pinkerton influences on
> Hammett might
> not have been his experience as much as the literature, such as Alan
> Pinkerton's series which included MOLLY MAGUIRES. Purportedly non-
> fiction, the idea of the hardboiled detective, violent and
> riding the hairy
> edge of legality, gets a fairly good fleshing out decades
> before Daly and
> Hammett published.

As evidence of that literary Pinkerton influence, from the book True Detective Stories from the Pinkerton Archives, by Cleveland Moffett (New York: G.W. Dillingham Co., 1898), read this description of Red Leary: "He was a typical desperado in appearance, with his shock of red hair, and his bristling red mustache, and his ugly, heavy-jawed face, while his huge neck and shoulders, his big head, and powerful hairy hands impressed one with his enormous physical strength. He weighed nearly three hundred pounds, and his
'pals' used to point with pride to the fact that he wore a bigger hat than any statesman in America--eight and a quarter." (pp. 47-48)

In "The Big Knockover," gives us this description of a character we later find is named Red O'Leary: "Just before they reached him another reached them--a broad-backed, long-armed, ape-built man I had not seen before. ... When the skull-cracker came out of the alley I saw his face in the light--a dark-skinned, heavily-lined face, broad and flat, with jaw-muscles bulging like abscesses under his ears." (Crime Stories & Other Writings, p. 550) Hammett later repeatedly describes him as a red-head and a giant.

Vince Emery
"One of the 25 most influential people in Internet marketing"
          --Grimes Communications Specialist in marketing communications Author, public speaker, teacher, and consultant Box 460279, San Francisco, CA 94146 USA vince@emery.com Phone 1.415.337.6000

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 Dec 2003 EST