Dashiell Hammett

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Dashiell Hammett
Photo portrait of Hammett from the cover of his final novel, The Thin Man (1934)
Photo portrait of Hammett from the cover of his final novel, The Thin Man (1934)
BornSamuel Dashiell Hammett
(1894-05-27)May 27, 1894
St. Mary's County, Maryland, U.S.
DiedJanuary 10, 1961(1961-01-10) (aged 66)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • political activist
  • screenwriter
GenreCrime and detective fiction
Josephine Dolan
(m. 1921; div. 1937)
PartnerLillian Hellman (1931–1961)

Samuel Dashiell Hammett (/ˌdæʃl ˈhæmɪt/;[2] May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was an American writer of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He was also a screenwriter and political activist. Among the characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), The Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse) and the comic strip character Secret Agent X-9.

Hammett is regarded as one of the very best mystery writers.[3] In his obituary in The New York Times, he was described as "the dean of the... 'hard-boiled' school of detective fiction."[4] Time included Hammett's 1929 novel Red Harvest on its list of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.[5] In 1990, the Crime Writers' Association picked three of his five novels for their list of The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.[6] Five years later, The Maltese Falcon placed second on the The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time as selected by the Mystery Writers of America; Red Harvest, The Glass Key and The Thin Man were also on the list.[7] His novels and stories also had a significant influence on films, including the genres of private eye/detective fiction, mystery thrillers, and film noir.

Raymond Chandler, often considered Hammett's successor, summarized his accomplishments in his essay "The Simple Art of Murder":

"Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare, and tropical fish... He is said to have lacked heart, yet the story he thought most of himself [The Glass Key] is the record of a man's devotion to a friend. He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before."

Early life[edit]

Hammett was born near Great Mills on the "Hopewell and Aim" farm in Saint Mary's County, Maryland,[8] to Richard Thomas Hammett and his wife Anne Bond Dashiell. His mother belonged to an old Maryland family, whose name in French was De Chiel. He had an elder sister, Aronia, and a younger brother, Richard Jr.[9] Known as Sam, Hammett was baptized a Catholic[10] and grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett's family moved to Baltimore when he was four years old in 1898, and for the most part, it was the city where he lived until he left permanently in 1920 when was 26 years old.[11] As a teen, Hammett attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, but his formal education ended during his first year of high school; he dropped out in 1908 due to his father's declining health and the need for him to earn money to support the family.[12]

He left school when he was 13 years old and held several jobs before working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He served as an operative for Pinkerton from 1915 to February 1922, with time off to serve in World War I. While working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Baltimore, he learned the trade and worked in the Continental Trust Building (now known as One Calvert Plaza).[13] He said that while with the Pinkertons he was sent to Butte, Montana, during the union strikes, though some researchers doubt this really happened.[14] The agency's role in strike-breaking eventually left him disillusioned.[15]

Hammett enlisted in the United States Army in 1918 and served in the Motor Ambulance Corps. He was afflicted during that time with the Spanish flu and later contracted tuberculosis. He spent most of his time in the Army as a patient at Cushman Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, where he met a nurse, Josephine Dolan, whom he married on July 7, 1921, in San Francisco.[16]

Marriage and family[edit]

Hammett and Dolan had two daughters, Mary Jane (born 1921) and Josephine (born 1926).[17] Shortly after the birth of their second child, health services nurses informed Dolan that, owing to Hammett's tuberculosis, she and the children should not live with him full time. Dolan rented a home in San Francisco, where Hammett would visit on weekends. The marriage soon fell apart; however, he continued to financially support his wife and daughters with the income he made from his writing.[18]

Career and personal life[edit]

Building at 891 Post St., San Francisco, where Hammett lived while writing The Maltese Falcon: The character Sam Spade may have also lived in the building.[19][20]

Hammett was first published in 1922 in the magazine The Smart Set.[21] Known for the authenticity and realism of his writing, he drew on his experiences as a Pinkerton operative.[22] Hammett wrote most of his detective fiction while he was living in San Francisco in the 1920s; streets and other locations in San Francisco are frequently mentioned in his stories. He said, "I do take most of my characters from real life."[23] His novels were some of the first to use dialogue that sounded authentic to the era. "I distrust a man that says when. If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does."[24]

The bulk of his early work, featuring a nameless private investigator, The Continental Op, appeared in leading crime-fiction pulp magazine Black Mask. Both Hammett and the magazine struggled in the period when Hammett became established.[25]

Lillian Hellman in 1935

Because of a disagreement with editor Philip C. Cody about money owed from previous stories, Hammett briefly stopped writing for Black Mask in 1926. He then took a full-time job as an advertisement copywriter for the Albert S. Samuels Co., a San Francisco jeweller. He was wooed back to writing for the Black Mask by Joseph Thompson Shaw, who became the new editor in the summer of 1926. Hammett dedicated his first novel, Red Harvest, to Shaw and his second novel, The Dain Curse, to Samuels.[26] Both these novels and his third, The Maltese Falcon, and fourth, The Glass Key, were first serialized in Black Mask before being revised and edited for publication by Alfred A. Knopf. The Maltese Falcon, considered to be his best work, is dedicated to his wife Josephine.

For much of 1929 and 1930, he was romantically involved with Nell Martin, a writer of short stories and several novels. He dedicated The Glass Key to her, and in turn she dedicated her novel Lovers Should Marry to him. In 1931, Hammett embarked on a 30-year romantic relationship with the playwright Lillian Hellman. Though he sporadically continued to work on material, he wrote his final novel in 1934, more than 25 years before his death. The Thin Man is dedicated to Hellman. Why he moved away from fiction is not certain; Hellman speculated in a posthumous collection of Hammett's novels, "I think, but I only think, I know a few of the reasons: he wanted to do new kind of work; he was sick for many of those years and getting sicker."[27] In the 1940s, Hellman and he lived at her home, Hardscrabble Farm, in Pleasantville, New York.[28]

The French novelist André Gide thought highly of Hammett, stating: "I regard his Red Harvest as a remarkable achievement, the last word in atrocity, cynicism and horror. Dashiell Hammett's dialogues, in which every character is trying to deceive all the others and in which the truth slowly becomes visible through a fog of deception, can be compared only with the best in Hemingway."[29]

Politics and service in World War II[edit]

Hammett devoted much of his life to left-wing activism. He was a strong antifascist throughout the 1930s, and in 1937 joined the Communist Party.[30] On May 1, 1935, Hammett joined the League of American Writers (1935–1943), whose members included Lillian Hellman, Alexander Trachtenberg of International Publishers, Frank Folsom, Louis Untermeyer, I. F. Stone, Myra Page, Millen Brand, Clifford Odets, and Arthur Miller. (Members were largely either Communist Party members or fellow travelers.)[31] He suspended his anti-fascist activities when, as a member (and in 1941 president) of the League of American Writers, he served on its Keep America Out of War Committee in January 1940 during the period of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.[32]

Especially in Red Harvest, literary scholars have seen a Marxist critique of the social system. One Hammett biographer, Richard Layman, calls such interpretations "imaginative", but he nonetheless objects to them, since, among other reasons, no "masses of politically dispossessed people" are in this novel. Herbert Ruhm found that contemporary left-wing media already viewed Hammett's writing with skepticism, "perhaps because his work suggests no solution: no mass-action... no individual salvation... no Emersonian reconciliation and transcendence".[33] In a letter of November 25, 1937, to his daughter Mary, Hammett referred to himself and others as "we reds". He confirmed, "in a democracy all men are supposed to have an equal say in their government", but added that "their equality need not go beyond that." He also found, "under socialism there is not necessarily... any leveling of incomes."[34]

Hellman wrote that Hammett was "most certainly" a Marxist, though a "very critical Marxist" who was "often contemptuous of the Soviet Union" and "bitingly sharp about the American Communist Party", to which he was nevertheless loyal.[35]: 12–13 

At the beginning of 1942, he wrote the screenplay of Watch on the Rhine, based on Hellman's successful play, which received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). But that year the Oscar went to Casablanca. In early 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hammett again enlisted in the United States Army. Because he was 48 years old, had tuberculosis, and was a Communist, Hammett later stated he had "a hell of a time" being inducted into the Army.[36] However, biographer Diane Johnson suggests that confusion over Hammett's forenames was the reason he was able to re-enlist.[37] He served as an enlisted man in the Aleutian Islands and initially worked on cryptanalysis on the island of Umnak. For fear of his radical tendencies, he was transferred to the Headquarters Company where he edited an Army newspaper entitled The Adakian.[38] In 1943, while still a member of the military, he co-authored The Battle of the Aleutians with Cpl. Robert Colodny, under the direction of an infantry intelligence officer, Major Henry W. Hall. While in the Aleutians, he developed emphysema.[36]

After the war, Hammett returned to political activism, "but he played that role with less fervour than before". He was elected president of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) on June 5, 1946, at a meeting held at the Hotel Diplomat in New York City, and "devoted the largest portion of his working time to CRC activities".[39]

In 1946, a bail fund was created by the CRC "to be used at the discretion of three trustees to gain the release of defendants arrested for political reasons."[40] The trustees were Hammett, who was chairman, Robert W. Dunn, and Frederick Vanderbilt Field.[40]

The CRC was designated a Communist front group by the US Attorney General.[41] Hammett endorsed Henry A. Wallace in the 1948 United States presidential election.[42]

Imprisonment and the blacklist[edit]

The CRC's bail fund gained national attention on November 4, 1949, when bail in the amount of "$260,000 in negotiable government bonds" was posted "to free eleven men appealing against their convictions under the Smith Act for criminal conspiracy to teach and advocate the overthrow of the United States government by force and violence." On July 2, 1951, their appeals exhausted, four of the convicted men fled rather than surrender themselves to federal agents and begin serving their sentences. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to the trustees of the CRC bail fund in an attempt to learn the whereabouts of the fugitives.[40]

Hammett testified on July 9, 1951, in front of United States District Court Judge Sylvester Ryan, facing questioning by Irving Saypol, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described by Time as "the nation's number-one legal hunter of top Communists". During the hearing, Hammett refused to provide the information the government wanted, specifically the list of contributors to the bail fund, "people who might be sympathetic enough to harbor the fugitives."[40] Instead, on every question regarding the CRC or the bail fund, Hammett declined to answer, citing the Fifth Amendment, refusing to even identify his signature or initials on CRC documents the government had subpoenaed. As soon as his testimony concluded, Hammett was found guilty of contempt of court.[40][43][44][45]

Hammett served time in a West Virginia federal penitentiary, where, according to Lillian Hellman, he was assigned to clean toilets.[46][47] Hellman noted in her eulogy of Hammett that he submitted to prison rather than reveal the names of the contributors to the fund because "he had come to the conclusion that a man should keep his word."[48]

By 1952, Hammett's popularity had declined as result of the hearings. He found himself impoverished due to a combination of the cancellation of radio programs The Adventures of Sam Spade and The Adventures of the Thin Man, and a lien on his income by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes owed since 1943. Furthermore, his books were no longer in print.[49]

Later years and death[edit]

During the 1950s Hammett was investigated by Congress. He testified on March 26, 1953, before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his own activities, but refused to cooperate with the committee. No official action was taken, but his stand caused him to be blacklisted, along with others who were blacklisted as a result of McCarthyism.

Hammett became an alcoholic before working in advertising,[22] and alcoholism continued to trouble him until 1948, when he quit under doctor's orders. However, years of heavy drinking and smoking worsened the tuberculosis he contracted in World War I, and then, according to Hellman, "jail had made a thin man thinner, a sick man sicker ... I knew he would now always be sick."[50]

Hellman wrote that during the 1950s, Hammett became "a hermit", his decline evident in the clutter of his rented "ugly little country cottage", where "signs of sickness were all around: now the phonograph was unplayed, the typewriter untouched, the beloved foolish gadgets unopened in their packages."[51] He may have meant to start a new literary life with the novel Tulip, but left it unfinished, perhaps because he was "just too ill to care, too worn out to listen to plans or read contracts. The fact of breathing, just breathing, took up all the days and nights."[52] Hammett could no longer live alone, and they both knew it, so he spent the last four years of his life with Hellman. "Not all of that time was easy, and some of it very bad", she wrote, but, "guessing death was not too far away, I would try for something to have afterwards."[53]

Hammett's grave, in Arlington National Cemetery, (section 12, site 508)

Hammett died in Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on January 10, 1961, of lung cancer, diagnosed just two months before.

A veteran of both world wars, Hammett is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[54]


Many of Hammett's papers are held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. This archive includes manuscripts and personal correspondence, along with a small group of miscellaneous notes.[55]

The Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of South Carolina holds the Dashiell Hammett family papers.[56]


Hammett's relationship with Lillian Hellman was portrayed in the 1977 film Julia. Jason Robards won an Oscar for his depiction of Hammett, and Jane Fonda was nominated for her portrayal of Lillian Hellman.

Hammett was the subject of a 1982 prime time PBS biography, The Case of Dashiell Hammett, that won a Peabody Award and a special Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America.[57]

Frederic Forrest portrayed Hammett semifictionally as the protagonist in the 1982 film Hammett, based on the novel of the same name by Joe Gores.

Sam Shepard played Hammett in the 1999 Emmy-nominated biographical television film Dash and Lilly along with Judy Davis as Hellman.

Hammett's influence on popular culture has continued well after his death. For example, in 1975, the film The Black Bird starred George Segal in the role of Sam Spade, Jr.; the film was a sequel and parody of the Maltese Falcon.[58] The 1976 comedic film Murder by Death spoofed a number of famous literary sleuths, including several of Hammett's.[59] The film's characters included Sam Diamond and Dick and Dora Charleston, which were parodies of Hammett's Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles.[60] In 2006, Rachel Cohn published the YA novel, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, whose main characters were named for the sleuths in Hammett's Thin Man series.[61] The book was made into a film of the same name and released in 2008.[62] Later, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan authored several books whose main characters are named for Hammett and his partner.[63] In 2011, they published the YA suspenseful romance, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.[64] That was followed by the sequels The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily in 2016 and Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily in 2020.[65] The book series was made into a Netflix television series.[66]


November 1927 issue of Black Mask, featuring "The Cleansing of Poisonville"
March 1930 issue of Black Mask magazine, featuring Hammett's The Glass Key

There is an almost complete bibliography by Richard Layman.[67] This list is an updated listing of the works described in Dashiell Hammett: A Descriptive Bibliography.[68] Hammett's entry in American Hard Boiled Crime Writers also contains a bibliography.[69]


  • Red Harvest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1929.
  • The Dain Curse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1929.
  • The Maltese Falcon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1930.
  • The Glass Key. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1931.
  • The Thin Man. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1934.

Short stories with serialized characters[edit]

The Continental Op

Sam Spade

  1. The Maltese Falcon (initially a five-part serial from September 1929 to January 1930 in Black Mask)
  2. "A Man Called Spade" (July, 1932, The American Magazine; also collected in A Man Called Spade and Other Stories)
  3. "Too Many Have Lived" (October, 1932, The American Magazine; also collected in A Man Called Spade and Other Stories)
  4. "They Can Only Hang You Once" (November 19, 1932, Collier's; also in A Man Called Spade and Other Stories)
  5. "A Knife Will Cut for Anybody" (Unpublished fragment – posthumously published in The Hunter and Other Stories)

Nick and Nora Charles

  1. A Man Named Thin (March 1961, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; collected in Nightmare Town, 1999)
  2. The First Thin Man (November 4, 1975, City Magazine; the 1930 first draft of the novel; collected in Nightmare Town, 1999)
  3. After the Thin Man (Screen story submitted to MGM September 17, 1935; first published in Return of the Thin Man)
  4. Another Thin Man (Screen story submitted to MGM May 13, 1938; first published in Return of the Thin Man)
  5. Sequel to the Thin Man (Screen story submitted to MGM December 7, 1938; first published in Return of the Thin Man)

Other short stories[edit]

  • "The Parthian Shot", The Smart Set, October 1922
  • "Immortality", 10 Story Book, November 1922
  • "The Barber and His Wife", Brief Stories, December 1922
  • "The Road Home", Black Mask December 1922
  • "The Master Mind", The Smart Set, January 1923
  • "The Sardonic Star of Tom Doody", Brief Stories, February 1923
  • "The Vicious Circle", Black Mask June 1923
  • "The Joke on Eoloise Morey", Brief Stories, June 1923
  • "Holiday", New Pearsons, July 1923
  • "The Crusader", The Smart Set, August 1923
  • "The Green Elephant", The Smart Set, October 1923
  • "The Dimple", Saucy Stories, October 1923
  • "The Second-Story Angel", Black Mask, November 1923
  • "Laughing Masks", Action Stories, November 1923
  • "The Man Who Killed Dan Odams", Black Mask, January 1924
  • "Itchy", Brief Stories, January 1924
  • "The New Racket", Black Mask, February 1924
  • "Esther Entertains", Brief Stories, February 1924
  • "Afraid of a Gun", Black Mask, March 1924
  • "Nightmare Town", Argosy All-Story Weekly, December 1924
  • "Another Perfect Crime", Experience, January 1925
  • "Ber-Bulu", Sunset, March 1925
  • "Ruffian's Wife", Sunset, October 1925
  • "The Glass That Laughed", True Police Stories, November 1925
  • "The Gutting of Couffignal", Black Mask, December 1925
  • "The Assistant Murderer", Black Mask, February 1926
  • "The Advertising Man Writes a Love Letter", Judge, February 1927
  • "The Diamond Wager", Detective Fiction Weekly, October 1929
  • "On the Way", Harper's Bazaar, March 1932
  • "Woman in the Dark", Liberty April, 8, 15 and 22, 1933
  • "Night Shade", Mystery League Magazine, October 1933
  • "Albert Pastor at Home", Esquire, Autumn 1933
  • "Two Sharp Knives", Collier's, January 1934
  • "His Brother's Keeper", Collier's, February 1934
  • "This Little Pig", Collier's, March 1934
  • "An Inch and a Half of Glory", posthumously published in The New Yorker, June 2013



Original Story[edit]


  • "The Great Lovers", The Smart Set, November 1922
  • "From the Memoirs of a Private Detective", The Smart Set, March 1923
  • "In Defence of the Sex Story", The Writer's Digest, June 1924
  • "Three Favorites", Black Mask, November 1924, Short autobiographies of Francis James, Dashiell Hammett and C. J. Daly.
  • "Vamping Sampson", The Editor, May 1925

On Advertising[edit]

  • "The Advertisement IS Literature". Western Advertising. 9 (3): 35–36. October 1926.
  • "Advertising Art Isn't Art —- It's Advertising". Western Advertising. 11 (5): 47–48. December 1927.
  • "Have You Tried Meiosis?". Western Advertising. 11 (6): 60–61. January 1928.
  • "The Literature of Advertising in 1927". Western Advertising. 12 (1): 154–156. February 1928.
  • "The Editor Knows His Audience". Western Advertising. 12 (2): 45–46. March 1928.

Examples of Hammett's advertising copy for the Albert S. Samuels Company, a San Francisco jewelers, are given in:

  • Carne, Hugh (October 1927). "Making Retail Advertising Stand Out". Western Advertising. 11 (3): 58–61, 82.

Starting in December 1925 and ending August 1926, there appeared, monthly in Western Advertising Books Reviews by S. H. Hammett is using not using D. but his other initial S. for Samuel.


  • Layman, Richard; Rivett, Julie M., eds. (2001). Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett: 1921–1960. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 978-1-582432-10-6.

Daily comic strips[edit]

Other publications[edit]

Unpublished stories[edit]

In 2011, magazine editor Andrew Gulli found fifteen previously unknown short stories by Dashiell Hammett in the archives of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.[72]



Short fiction[edit]

Because of their popularity, Hammett's short stories were collected in many anthologies by different publishers. After their initial publication in pulp magazines, they were first collected in ten digest-sized paperbacks by Mercury Publications under an imprint, either Bestsellers Mystery, A Jonathan Press Mystery or Mercury Mystery. The stories were edited by Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay) and were abridged versions of the original publications. Some of these digests were reprinted as hardcovers by World Publishing under the imprint Tower Books. The anthologies were also republished as Dell mapbacks. An important collection, The Big Knockover and Other Stories, edited by Lillian Hellman, helped revive Hammett's literary reputation in the 1960s and fostered a new series of anthologies. However, most of these used Dannay's abridged version of the stories. Steven Marcus, while editing the collection for the Library of America, was the first to return to the original magazine texts.[citation needed]

Mercury Publications[edit]

  • $106,000 Blood Money. Bestseller Mystery B40, 1943. Collection of two connected Continental Op stories, "The Big Knockover" and "$106,000 Blood Money".
  • The Adventures of Sam Spade. Bestseller Mystery B50, 1944. Collection of three Spade stories and four others.
  • They Can Only Hang You Once and Other Stories. Mercury Mystery B50, 1949. Reprint of Bestseller Mystery B50.
  • The Continental Op. Bestseller Mystery B62, 1945. Collection of four Continental Op stories.
  • The Continental Op. Jonathan Press Mystery J40, 1949. Reprint of Bestseller Mystery B62.
  • The Return of the Continental Op. Jonathan Press Mystery J17, 1945. Collection of five further Continental Op stories.
  • Hammett Homicides. Bestseller Mystery B81, 1946. Collection of six stories, four of which feature the Continental Op.
  • Dead Yellow Women. Jonathan Press Mystery J29, 1947. Collection of six stories, four of which feature the Continental Op.
  • Nightmare Town. Mercury Mystery #120, 1948. Collection of four stories, two of which feature the Continental Op.
  • The Creeping Siamese. Jonathan Press Mystery J48, 1950. Collection of six stories, three of which feature the Continental Op.
  • Woman in the Dark. Jonathan Press Mystery J59, 1951. Collection of the three part novelette.
  • A Man Named Thin. Mercury Mystery #233, 1962. Collection of eight stories, one of which features the Continental Op.

World Publishing[edit]

  • Blood Money. Tower, 1943. Hardcover edition of Bestseller Mystery B40.
  • The Adventures of Sam Spade and other stories. 1945. Hardcover edition of Bestseller Mystery B50.


  • Blood Money. Dell #53, 1944. Mapback reprint of Bestseller Mystery B40.
  • Blood Money. Dell #486, 1951. Mapback reprint of Bestseller Mystery B40.
  • A Man Called Spade and Other Stories. Dell #90, 1945. Mapback reprint of Bestseller Mystery B50 but omits two stories: Nightshade and The Judge Laughed Last.
  • A Man Called Spade and Other Stories. Dell #411, 1950. Reprint of Dell #90.
  • A Man Called Spade and Other Stories. Dell #452, 1952. Reprint of Dell #90.
  • The Continental Op. Dell #129, 1946. Reprint of Bestseller Mystery B62.
  • The Return of the Continental Op. Dell #154, 1947. Reprint of Jonathan Press Mystery J17.
  • Hammett Homicides. Dell #223, 1948. Mapback reprint of Bestseller Mystery B81.
  • Dead Yellow Women. Dell #308, 1949. Mapback reprint of Jonathan Press Mystery J29.
  • Dead Yellow Women. Dell #421, 1950. Mapback reprint of Jonathan Press Mystery J29.
  • Nightmare Town. Dell #379, 1950. Mapback reprint of Mercury Mystery #120.
  • The Creeping Siamese. Dell #538, 1951. Mapback reprint of Jonathan Press Mystery J48, 1950.

Later collections[edit]

Along with the novels, these later collections have been reprinted in paperback versions under many imprints: Vintage Crime, Black Lizard, Everyman's library.

  • The Big Knockover. Random House, 1966. Including the unfinished novel Tulip.
  • The Continental Op. Random House, 1974. Edited and with an introduction by Steven Marcus. Comprises 7 stories. ISBN 978-0-394487-04-5
  • Woman in the Dark. Knopf, 1988. Hardcover collection of the three parts of the title novelette, with an introduction by Robert B. Parker. ISBN 978-0-394572-69-7
  • Nightmare Town. Knopf, 1999. Hardcover collection, with contents different from the digest of the same title.ISBN 978-0-375401-11-4
  • Crime Stories and Other Writings (Steven Marcus, ed.) (Library of America, 2001); ISBN 978-1-931082-00-6.
  • Lost Stories. Vince Emery Productions, 2005. Collection of 21 stories not been previously published in hardcover, including some previously unpublished stories, with several long commentaries on Hammett's career providing context for the stories. Introduction by Joe Gores. ISBN 978-0-972589-81-9
  • Vintage Hammett. New York : Vintage Books, 2005. Collection nine stories of Sam Spade, Nick and Nora Charles, and The Continental Op. ISBN 978-1-400079-62-9
  • The Hunter and Other Stories. Mysterious Press, 2014. Collection of previously unpublished or uncollected stories and screenplays, including a fragment of a second Sam Spade novel. Edited by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett. ISBN 978-0-802121-58-5
  • The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories. New York : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2010]. ISBN 978-0-307455-43-7 Reprints The Maltese Falcon in its original serialized form.
  • The Big Book of the Continental Op. New York : Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2017]. Collects all twenty-eight stories and two serialized novels starring Continental Op, plus the previously unpublished fragment "Three Dimes." ISBN 978-0-525432-95-1

Daily comic strips[edit]



Sequels based on characters created by Hammett[edit]

Serial based on characters created by Hammett[edit]

Film based on characters created by Hammett[edit]


Series based on characters created by Hammett[edit]

Comic book[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Profile, nytimes.com; accessed March 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Dashiell Hammett", Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary; accessed January 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Layman, Richard (1981). Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 239. ISBN 0-15-181459-7.
  4. ^ Layman, Richard; Bruccoli, Matthew J. (2002). Hardboiled Mystery Writers: A Literary Reference. Carroll & Graf. p. 225. ISBN 0-7867-1029-2.
  5. ^ Grossman, Lev; Lacayo, Richard (January 6, 2010). "TIME'S List of the 100 Best Novels". Time. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  6. ^ The Hatchards Crime Companion. 100 Top Crime Novels Selected by the Crime Writers' Association, ed. Susan Moody (London, 1990) (ISBN 0-904030-02-4).
  7. ^ Mystery Writers Of America (1995). The Crown Crime Companion: The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time. Crown Publisher Inc. ISBN 978-0-517881-15-6.[page needed]
  8. ^ Shoemaker, Sandy. "Tobacco to Tomcats: St. Mary's County since the Revolution". StreamLine Enterprises, Leonardtown, Maryland: 160. Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2008-01-01. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census
  10. ^ Hammett, Dashiell and Vince Emery. Lost Stories. San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions, 2005, p. 197.[ISBN missing]
  11. ^ "A ten-mile run through Dashiell Hammett's early Baltimore haunts". Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  12. ^ "Dashiell Hammett". www.litencyc.com. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  13. ^ Dennies, Nathan. "Dashiell Hammett and the Continental Trust Company Building". Explore Baltimore Heritage. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  14. ^ Ward, Nathan. The Lost Detective, Bloomsbury US, 2015.
  15. ^ Heise, Thomas, "'Going Blood-Simple Like the Natives': Contagious Urban Spaces and Modern Power in Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest" (paid access only), Modern Fiction Studies 51, no. 3 (Fall 2005), p. 506. The Project MUSE access provides a no-charge excerpt, but the excerpt does not cover the cited information.
  16. ^ "California, San Francisco County Records, 1824–1997," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-95D7-WQ6?cc=1402856&wc=319K-BZ7%3A20726701%2C22490901 : 20 May 2014), Marriages > image 84 of 233; San Francisco Public Library.
  17. ^ Layman, Richard with Rivett, Julie M. (2001). "Review" of Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921–1960; retrieved June 2, 2009.
  18. ^ Gores in Emery, editor, pp. 240 and 336.
  19. ^ Coggins, Mark. "891 Post Street". Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Athitakis, Mark (April 11, 2001). "The Ghosts in 401". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dashiell Hammett – About Dashiell Hammett". PBS. December 30, 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  22. ^ a b Gores in Emery, ed., pp. 18–24.
  23. ^ Harrington, Joseph (28 January 1934). "Hammett Solves Big Crime; Finds Ferris Wheel". New York Evening Journal.
  24. ^ Hammett, Dashiell (1930). The Maltese Falcon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 126.
  25. ^ Locke, John (December 21, 2019). "Hammett Takes on the Writing Racket." Up and Down these Mean Streets
  26. ^ Hammett, Dashiell (2017). The Big Book of the Continental Op. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. ISBN 978-0-525432-95-1.
  27. ^ Hammett, Dashiell (1965). The Novels of Dashiell Hammett. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. Foreword.
  28. ^ U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
  29. ^ Gide, André (1944-02-07). "An Imaginary Interview". The New Republic. Vol. 110, no. 6. p. 186.
  30. ^ "FAQ". Cpusa.org. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  31. ^ Page, Myra; Baker, Christina Looper (1996). In a Generous Spirit: A First-Person Biography of Myra Page. University of Illinois Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0252065439. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  32. ^ Folsom, Franklin (1994). Days of Anger, Days of Hope. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 0-87081-332-3.
  33. ^ Nolan, William F. 1978 2nd printing. Dashiell Hammett A Casebook, with an introduction by Philip Durham. 1969. Santa Barbara, McNally&Loftin, p. 6.
  34. ^ Layman, Richard (ed.) 2001. With Rivett, Julie M., Introduction by Josephine Hammett Marshall. Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921–1960 ISBN 1-58243-081-0, p. 142f
  35. ^ Hellman, Lillian (1969). "Introduction". In Hellman, Lillian (ed.). The Big Knockover and Other Stories. Penguin Books. pp. 7–23. ISBN 0-1400-2941-9.
  36. ^ a b G. Michael Doogan, Dash-ing Through the Snow, The Armchair Detective, Winter, 1989, pages 82–91
  37. ^ Johnson, D. (1983) Dashiell Hammett: A Life
  38. ^ Spitzer, E. (1974-01-04). "With Corporal Hammett on Adak". Nation. pp. 6–9.
  39. ^ Layman, Richard (1981). Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 206. ISBN 0-15-181459-7.
  40. ^ a b c d e Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett, pp. 219–223.
  41. ^ Nemy, Enid (February 7, 2000). "Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Wealthy Leftist, Dies at 94". New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2007.-.
  42. ^ People Who Read and Write; The New York Times, September 12, 1948
  43. ^ Metress, Christopher (1994). The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett. Greenwood Press.
  44. ^ Johnson, Diane (1983). Dashiell Hammett, a Life. Random House. ISBN 978-0394505015.
  45. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Dashiell Hammett profile". kirjasto.sci.fi. Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006.
  46. ^ Hellman, Lilian (1962). Introduction to Dashiell Hammett, The Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels. Houghton Mifflin. (Published posthumously; Hammett had turned down offers to republish his stories, and Hellman published them only after his death, as a tribute.) pp. vii–viii,
  47. ^ Hellman, Lilian. Introduction to The Big Knockover. pp. xi–xii. Hellman wrote that there began an "irritating farce" that Hammett told her he was cleaning bathrooms "better than [she] had ever done" and "learned to take pride in the work", which she called his form of boasting, or humor, "to make fun of trouble or pain."
  48. ^ Johnson, Diane (1987). Dashiell Hammett: A Life. Fawcett Columbine. Cited in King Laurie R. (2010). Afterword. Locked Rooms. Random House. p. 403.[ISBN missing]
  49. ^ Hammett, Dashiell (1999). Marcus, Steven (ed.). Complete Novels. Library of America. pp. 957–958. ISBN 978-1-883011-67-3.
  50. ^ Introduction to The Big Knockover, pp. xi, xii.
  51. ^ Introduction to The Big Knockover, p. xx.
  52. ^ Hellman's introduction to The Big Knockover, p. viii (Hellman speculated that Hammett turned down republishing offers because he hoped for a fresh start and "didn't want the old work to get in the way.")
  53. ^ Introduction to The Big Knockover, p. xxvi.
  54. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3 ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 312. ISBN 978-1476625997.
  55. ^ "Dashiell Hammett:An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center". norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  56. ^ "Dashiell Hammett family papers". archives.library.sc.edu. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  57. ^ "Current Affairs: The Case of Dashiell Hammett". www.peabodyawards.com.
  58. ^ "Movies: The Black Bird - The Greatest Literature of All Time". www.editoreric.com. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  59. ^ Higgins, Bill (2019-11-30). "Hollywood Flashback: 'Murder by Death' Was a 1976 All-Star Mystery Spoof". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  60. ^ Myers, Scott (2016-10-27). "Classic 70s Movie: "Murder By Death"". Medium. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  61. ^ "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - review". the Guardian. 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  62. ^ Scott, A. O. (2008-10-02). "For Muddled Youth, Music to Live By". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  63. ^ "The Book Netflix's 'Dash and Lily' is Based On". Newsweek. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  64. ^ "reademandweep.blog". ww16.reademandweep.blog. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  65. ^ "The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily". Manhattan Book Review. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  66. ^ "The Book Netflix's 'Dash and Lily' is Based On". Newsweek. 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  67. ^ Layman, Richard (2005). Discovering the Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade. Vince Emery Productions. pp. 3–5. ISBN 0-9725898-6-4.
  68. ^ Layman, Richard (1979). Dashiell Hammett: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 978-0-822933-94-6.
  69. ^ American Hard Boiled Crime Writers. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 226. Gale Research Inc. 2000. ISBN 978-0-787631-35-2.
  70. ^ Hammett, Dashiell (1945). "Chapter 5: Watch on the Rhine". In Gassner, John; Nichols, Dudley (eds.). Best film plays of 1943–1944. Crown Books.
  71. ^ Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 140.
  72. ^ Harris, Paul (February 4, 2011). "Dashiell Hammett's lost works found in Texas". The Guardian. London.

Further reading[edit]


  • Mundell, E. H. (1968). A List of the Original Appearances of Dashiell Hammett's Magazine Work. Kent State University.
  • Layman, Richard. (1979). Dashiell Hammett: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh Press.
  • Lovisi, Gary (1994). Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler: A Checklist and Bibliography of Their Paperback Appearances. Gryphon Books.

Biography and criticism[edit]

  • Beunat, Natalie (1997). Dashiell Hammett: Parcours d'une oeuvre. Amiens: Encrage Edition.
  • Braun, Martin (1977). Prototypen der amerikanischen Kriminalerzählung: Die Romane und Kurzgeschichten Carroll John Daly und Dashiell Hammett. Frankfurt: Lang.
  • Duggan, Eddie (2000) Sfhea, Eddie Duggan (January 2000). "Dashiell Hammett: Detective, Writer". Crimetime. 3 (2): 101–114 – via Academia.edu.
  • Fechheimer, David, ed. (1975). City of San Francisco: Dashiell Hammett Issue. 4 November 4, 1975. San Francisco: City Publishing.
  • Gale, Robert L. (2000). A Dashiell Hammett Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
  • Gregory, Sinda (1985). Private Investigations: The Novels of Dashiell Hammett. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Hammett, Jo (2001). Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers. Carroll and Graf.
  • Hellman, Lillian. An Unfinished Woman. Pentimento. Scoundrel Time. Memoirs containing much material about Hammett.
  • Herron, Don (2009). The Dashiell Hammett Tour: Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook. San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions.
  • Jaemmrich, Armin (2016). The American Noir – A Rehabilitation, ISBN 978-1523664405
  • Johnson, Diane (1983). Dashiell Hammett: A Life. New York: Random House.
  • Joshi, S. T. (2019). "Dashiell Hammett: Sam Spade and Others" in Varieties of Crime Fiction (Wildside Press) ISBN 978-1-4794-4546-2.
  • Layman, Richard (1981). Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Layman, Richard (2000). Literary Masters. Vol. 3, Dashiell Hammett. Detroit: Gale Group.
  • Layman, Richard, ed. (2005). Clues: A Journal of Detection. Theme issue, Dashiell Hammett. Winter 2005. Washington D.C.: Heldref Publications.
  • Locke, John (December 21, 2019). "Hammett Takes on the Writing Racket." Up and Down these Mean Streets.
  • Lopez, Jesus Angel Gonzalez (2004). La Narrativa Popular de Dashiell Hammett: Pulps, Cine, y Comics. Biblioteca Javier Coy d'Estudis Nord-Americans, Universitat de Valencia.
  • Marling, William (1983). Dashiell Hammett. New York: Twayne.
  • Maurin, Maria Jose Alvarez (1994). Claves Para un Enigma: La Poetica del Misterio en la Narrativa de Dashiell Hammett. Universidad de Leon.
  • Mellon, Joan (1996). Hellman and Hammett. New York: Harper Collins.
  • Metress, Christopher, ed. (1994). The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
  • Nolan, William F. (1969). Dashiell Hammett: A Casebook. Santa Barbara: McNally & Lofin.
  • Nolan, William F. (1983). Hammett: A Life at the Edge. New York: Congdon & Weed.
  • Panek, Leroy Lad (2004). Reading Early Hammett: A Critical Study of the Fiction Prior to The Maltese Falcon. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland.
  • Symons, Julian (1985). Dashiell Hammett. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Thompson, George J. "Rhino" (2007). Hammett's Moral Vision. San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions.
  • Ward, Nathan (2015). The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett. New York: Bloomsbury USA.

External links[edit]


Online editions[edit]