RARA-AVIS: Hammett and the pulps

From: Chuck G. ( chgenoe2@prodigy.net)
Date: 02 Dec 2004

With all of the discussion comparing Hammett, Chandler, and Macdonald, I thought I'd ask who influenced Hammett? I've only read one novel RED HARVEST, and several of his shorts i NIGHTMARE TOWN, but it looks like he was much more in the pulp tradition than Chandler or Macdonald. The pulps tend to be remembered for action, but they also dealt with exotic locales and things. I can see this in THE MALTESE FALCON. The Falcon itself is fabulous jewel encrusted statue, and the characters have chased it all over the world. His story NIGHTMARE TOWN feels like a lot of the old pulp westerns I've read. I think what Hammett did was blend classic mystery elements with pulp action. In HOUSE DICK, he starts with a puzzle plot scenario with three bodies in closet, and moves on to a shoot-out between two leutenants of a mysterious criminal mastermind. Any thoughts? Chuck

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