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Saturday, Jan 26, 2002

hammett time

"Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born in rural Maryland in 1894. As a boy he wanted to read all the books in the Baltimore public library, but he had to quit high school at the age of fourteen to help out with the shaky family finances. (His father, whom he didn't like, was a spendthrift, drinker, sharp dresser, and womanizer; but unlike Hammett, who resembled him in all these respects, he was mean and stingy.) At twenty-one, Hammett got a job as a Pinkerton's detective agency operative, which he left in 1918 to join the army. He suffered the first of many severe respiratory illnesses then. During one recuperation he married a nurse he met at the infirmary; then he signed on at Pinkerton's once more, but his health broke down. It was then that he began writing crime stories for the pulps."