Sam Spade, a slightly shop-worn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, stars in Hammett's detective fiction, a novel that has haunted 2 generations of readers.
Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary's County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter--messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health. When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of
Dashiell Hammett . . . is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer. The Boston Globe The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel. The Times Literary Supplement (London) Hammett s prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction. The New York Times"
Vintage Books USA
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