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Topic subjectRE: Have you read any Hammett
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=17&topic_id=90744&mesg_id=90745
90745, RE: Have you read any Hammett
Posted by jhmcmullen, Mon Apr-23-12 03:14 PM
Yes, he's certainly worth a study. I'd look at The Thin Man, Red Harvest, and the various Continental Op stories (which at one time were collected into a book called, well, The Continental Op).

I haven't mentioned The Maltese Falcon because the movie (the one with Humphrey Bogart) is almost as good: Huston took large swathes of the book's dialogue almost verbatim when he was writing the screenplay. (Huston lied to Jack Warner about what "gunsel" meant and the lie has taken over the original meaning.)

Since it's been a while since I've read him, I don't know how much of the dialogue depends on contextual knowledge. It might be a lot, it might be a little.

For what it's worth, I think that Hammett and his stories in Black Mask almost single-handedly lifted mystery fiction from the realm of the cozy and into the hard-boiled world. Hammett had been a detective, so he had some idea of how the world worked. (I remember someone...Raymond Chandler, I believe...suddenly discovering that detectives ran their businesses like a business, with estimates and sheets where they wrote down everything that the customer knew. It changed the later Marlowe novels. Hammett never had that problem.)