Nell Martin

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Nell Martin (1890–1961) was an American author from Illinois specializing in light-hearted mysteries and short stories. She also published under Columbia Boyer and her full name Nell Columbia Boyer Martin. Having also worked as a strawberry picker, newspaper reporter, taxi-cab driver, lawyers assistant, laundry worker, singer, actress and press agent before becoming a writer, she referred to herself as a "Jill of all trades."[1][2][3]

Her "Maisie" short stories were published in Top Notch Magazine in 1927-1928 and later inspired a movie and radio series starring Ann Sothern.[4][5]

Her 1928 novel Lord Byron of Broadway was made into a movie of the same title by MGM in 1930.

She was at one time the lover of the mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and he dedicated his 1931 novel The Glass Key to her. She was married to Ashley Weed Dickinson, a journalist and author.[1]


Martin wrote eight novels and over 200 short stories.[1] Her novels include:[2]

  • The Constant Simp (1927), which was reportedly a parody of The Constant Nymph
  • The Mosaic Earring (1927)
  • Lord Byron of Broadway: A Novel (1928)
  • The Other Side of the Fence: A Novel (1929)
  • Lovers Should Marry (1933), which she dedicated to Hammett.


  1. ^ a b "Nell Martin". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  2. ^ a b Dates and titles are from: A Dashiell Hammett companion, Robert L. Gale
  3. ^ Gale, Robert L. (2000). A Dashiell Hammett Companion. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 163. ISBN 0313310955 – via 
  4. ^ Publication details are from Yesterday's Faces: Dangerous Horizons, Robert Sampson.
  5. ^ Hammet links her stories to the movie version of Maisie in letters collected in Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett: 1921-1960.