RARA-AVIS: Hammett's "Diamond Wager"

From: William Harker ( wharker@verizon.net)
Date: 08 Dec 2006

I've just read this for the first time. Anyone had any information as to the background for writing this story? Panek (Reading Early Hammett) tosses it off as a "joke caper" and Layman (Shadow Man) calls it "very bad." Admittedly, it is not very good but what strikes me is the type of story it is, a sort-of Cell-13 story. "I can commit a crime against you (your business) and you can't prevent me from doing it." Hammett was in serious need of money so I see the need to toss off a story (Fall 1929). Apparently, he did not take the story too seriously because he used the name Samuel Dashiell when publishing it in Detective Fiction Weekly. This was just about in-between the book review period of Saturday Review of Literature and New York Evening Post, so I can even see Hammett saying to himself, "hell, if these writers I've been reviewing can write this sort of stuff and sell it certainly I can."

Any thoughts?

Bill Harker

Marlowe is a man "in a lonely street, in lonely rooms, puzzled but never quite defeated."
                                                                 Raymond Chandler, 1959

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