I think some of the "glamour" of the Pinkertons, even in Hammett's
day, was romanticized PR. Like some of today's "private security
contractors," they may have often been little more than thugs with an
organization behind them. Maybe that's where Hammett learned to lie
his ass off so well.
In Don Herron's newest edition of his guidebook -- an amazing
compendium of trivia and travel tips for the San Francisco hard-boiled
jetsetter -- there are some pretty head-spinning suggestions.
Like, Hammett may have actually been one of the men involved in the
murder of Frank Little, and a goodly portion of his "memories of a
private detective" were bogus (though the latter seems sort of obvious).
Kevin Burton Smith
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