Life and Works
Hammett was born in St. Mary's Country, Maryland, on May 27, 1894. He left school at age 13, worked for a detective agency, joined the army in 1918, came down with Spanish flu, and married a nurse in Tacoma. He had the experience to write several short stories for Black Mask, a pulp fiction magazine, and used "The Continental Op," a character from those stories, to write the full-length novels Red Harvest (1928) and The Dain Curse (1929), psychological thrillers. He wrote The Maltese Falcon, about detective Sam Spade, The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man, about couple Nick and Nora Charles, and the books quickly became motion pictures. He devoted his later years to liberal politics and died January 10, 1961.
- The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York: 1991.
- Read the Britannica article; it says "left-wing."
- "Hammett, Dashiell." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.