The Maltese Falcon

The author of the popular novel “The Maltese FalconDashiell Hammett was born on May 28, 1894. Some of you may have seen the 1941 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.

Hammett never had a lot of schooling. He left school when he was 13 and finally landed a job at Pinkerton’s detective agency. He stayed there for eight years working as a detective. He turned this knowledge into inspiration for his writing. He was able to describe violent and emotional events and his style became known as the “hard-boiled” style of detective fiction.

In this style, Hammett published two novels “Red Harvest” and “The Dain Curse”. Then he came out with “The Maltese Falcon” in 1929 and everyone was introduced to the popular detective Sam Spade. This novel was made into a movie three times. In 1931 starring Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels, in 1936 titled “Satan Met a Lady” starring Bette Davis and in 1941 with Bogart which I believe was the most popular version.

Hammet became romantically involved with playwright Lillian Hellman. She was his model for the character of Nora Charles in his 1934 comic mystery “The Thin Man” This novel was made into a very popular movie “The Thin Man” starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as the characters Nick and Nora Charles. In fact, the first movie was so popular that there were five sequels. I have seen all of the movies and if you can get to see them it is well worth it. Hammett and Hellman stayed together until his death in 1961.


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