The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett
Bargain Book Copy
A fascinating portrait of how Dashiell Hammett transformed himself from Pinkerton detective to author of the most iconic detective novels of the twentieth century.
Dashiell Hammett's life on center stage is well known. But before he became a household name as America's greatest hardboiled crime writer, before Lillian Hellman and McCarthyera blacklisting, Hammett led a life of action that has been largely overlooked. Leaving school at thirteen, he joined the Pinkerton National Detective Agency as an operative in 1915, and remained with the agency until, in 1922, the tuberculosis he contracted during WWI forced him to retire--prompting one of America's most acclaimed writing careers.
Nathan Ward's enthralling The Lost Detective for the first time links Hammett's life experience to his stories. His childhood, his life in San Francisco, and especially his years as a detective deeply informed his writing and characters, from the nameless Continental Op, hero of his stories and early novels, to Sam Spade and Nick Charles. He would write five novels between 1929 and 1934, two of them (The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man) American classics, inspiring generations of crime writers from Chandler to Connelly. Yet after The Thin Man he never finished another book, and his popular image was largely shaped by the remembrance of Hellman, who knew him after his literary reputation was made. The Lost Detective illuminates Hammett's transformation from real detective to great American crime writer, throwing brilliant new light on his books and on one of America's most celebrated novelists and his world.
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