This site is dedicated to all the people like Don Herron, Bill Arney, Richard Layman,
William F. Nolan, Josephine Hammett Marshall, Julie M. Rivett, Steven Marcus, Joe
Gores and others who have kept 1920s San Francisco in the here and now.
Special thanks to Vince Emery for his many helpful contributions to this website.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HAMMETT NEWS? If so, E-mail it to me, and if I use it on the website,
you'll receive... uh, my sincere gratitude. (and a mention here in the news column,
You may be wondering how there could be any news concerning a writer who's been dead
for fifty years, and hasn't written anything in over seventy! But there is news,
and plenty of it...
JUNE 27, 2014:
Dan Saltzstein of the New York Times has put together a nice little piece on Hammett’s
San Francisco, including moody photos by Matthew Ryan Williams. Click here to take
MARCH 10, 2014:
Using a rich blend of images and video, Brad Rosenstein takes us down the foggy,
mean streets of Hammett’s San Francisco, exploring how the city and the writer combined
to shape the myths around each other, as Hammett produced some iconic American fiction.
This event takes place on Thursday, March 20, at 7:00 PM at San Francisco’s Jewish
Community Center, 3200 California Street (at Presidio Avenue). Ticket details can
be found here.
DECEMBER 6, 2013:
I’m not even sure when the actual anniversary was, but The Dashiell Hammett Website
has been around for slightly more than a decade now! Many thanks to all the people
whose support helped make this site what it is today!
NOVEMBER 25, 2013:
The Maltese Falcon – the 45-pound lead prop held by Humphrey Bogart in the 1941
film – went on the auction block yesterday. Many predicted that it would sell for
a million dollars or more. As, it turned out, it brought more than four million!
Click here for the mind-boggling details.
OCTOBER 20, 2013:
Need to contact the people who control Hammett’s literary estate? Not a problem!
Inquiries relating to films or to Hammett’s five novels should be directed to Gelfman
Schneider Literary Agents (email@example.com ). Questions regarding Hammett’s
short stories should go to the Joy Harris Literary Agency (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please
send copies of all inquiries, as well as any to other questions, to Hammettqueries@gmail.com.
OCTOBER 19, 2013:
Julie Rivett, Hammett’s granddaughter and co-editor of The Hunter and Other Stories
(see below) will be promoting the new book at Gatsby Books, 5535 East Spring Street,
in Long Beach, CA. It’ll be happening from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM on Tuesday, November
5th. “The Hunter introduces twelve never-before-published narratives, five uncollected
stories, three screen treatments (for City Streets, Mr Dynamite, and an unproduced
1930s adventure set in China), and an unfinished Sam Spade story that’ll break your
SEPTEMBER 12, 2013:
Longtime contributor Shane Mawe reports that the hard-rockin’ blues music of Rory
Gallagher (including “Continental Op” ) is now available in a three CD set (complete
with an Ian Rankin novella!) in the noir-themed project “Kickback City.”
JUNE 4, 2013:
More never-before-seen Hammett stories? It’s true! Julie Rivett reports: “I'm very
happy to announce that the latest issue of The New Yorker features an unpublished
Hammett story, ‘An Inch and-a Half of Glory.’ It's a non-crime character study that'll
be included in The Hunter and Other Stories, our upcoming collection of unfamiliar
Hammett fiction. I hope my grandfather would be pleased. I know I am.” (Julie’s grandfather
was, of course, DH himself! The new book will be released by Mysterious Press this
coming November, and will be available in hardcover, audio and Kindle editions.)
APRIL 12, 2013:
The Los Angeles Visionary Society (LAVA) will welcome Julie Rivett, Dashiell Hammett’s
grand daughter as she explores her grandfather’s controversial political life, his
relationship with Lillian Hellman, and the decades of consequent troubles that have
tangled Hammett’s estate. The event takes place April 27, which includes a buffet
dinner featuring mid-century gourmet fare, the presentations, and complimentary parking.
For more details, click here.
FEBRUARY 25, 2013:
Shane Mawe, a longtime contributor to this site, reports that Hammett has once again
surfaced as a fictional character in a novel. This time it’s in Hammett Unwritten
(more details can be found here). The book was (supposedly) written by Owen Fitzstephen,
who was a fictional character in the Hammett novel The Dain Curse.
NOVEMBER 2, 2012:
Hammett’s latest: Return of the Thin Man is now in bookstores, and available from
amazon.com. As a tie-in, Publishers Weekly interviewed Julie Rivett (DH’s granddaughter)
, who revealed what her grandfather thought of writing for Hollywood. To read the
interview, click here.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2012:
To coincide with Otto Penzler’s publication of two lost Dashiell Hammett novellas—“After
the Thin Man” and “Another Thin Man”—HighBridge Audio is releasing an audio edition:
The Return of the Thin Man. The audiobook is narrated by Peter Ganim, Nicola Barber,
Scott Brick, and a full cast, and produced and directed by Paul Ruben. Check out
the AudioBook Trailer from HighBridge.
APRIL 17, 2012:
When Library of America assembled Hammett: Crime Stories and Other Stories back in
2001, they intended to use the original, pulp magazine versions of Hammett’s stories
(rather than the edited and altered versions that usually appear in collections).
This is what they did—with one exception. As far as anyone knew, there were no
surviving copies of Mystery Stories (January 1928 issue), in which the Continental
Op story “This King Business” originally appeared. But copies of the issue in question
have resurfaced, so the latest printing of Crime Stories will include the original
pulp version. For details aplenty, click here.
JANUARY 17, 2012:
Debra Levie has a question about the Adventures of Sam Spade radio episode “The Wheel
of Life Caper.” At one point, a gunman says “In a goop!” As a cop hauls the creep
away, Spade responds “In a goop to you, too!” In context, the expression seems to
mean “to hell with you, buddy,” but Debra’s never found “in a goop” in any slang
dictionary, nor located anyone who’s familiar with the expression. Can anyone offer
JANUARY 14, 2012:
If you’d like to see six Hammett-inspired films on the big screen, all in one day,
attend the closing day of Noir City X, Eddie Muller’s tenth annual tribute to film
noir. Ten days of hard-boiled cinema will climax on Sunday, January 29 with a Hammett
marathon that includes Roadhouse Nights (1930, based loosely on Red Harvest), The
Maltese Falcon (the 1931 original, starring Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade), City Streets
(1932, written by Hammett), Mr Dynamite (1935, story by Hammett), The Glass Key (1942,
based on Hammett’s novel) and, of course, Humphrey Bogart in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon.
It all starts at noon at San Francisco’s world-famous Castro Theatre.
JANUARY 13, 2012:
Author Nathan Ward is currently researching a book on DH’s transition from Pinkerton
op to hard-boiled writer. As an epilogue to the book, he hopes to include personal
anecdotes from readers who feel that Hammett’s work has impacted their lives. Nathan
would especially like to hear from people who were involved in the Hammett revival
in San Francisco during the early 1970s. If you have something you’d care to contribute,
contact him at email@example.com.
NOVEMBER 22, 2011:
Here’s something wacky: imagine the opening scene of The Maltese Falcon redone as
a TV sitcom, complete with a cheesy theme song and a live studio audience. Actually,
you don’t have to imagine it: just click here to check out this short film made by
students of the University of Technology, Sydney.
At 2 PM on November 13, The Friends of the Pomona Fox will screen The Maltese Falcon
at the Pomona Fox Theater, Garey & Third Street, Pamona, CA. In addition, writer
Denise Hamilton will speak about film noir. Tickets can be purchased online by going
to www.pomonafox.org or can be purchased in person at the Pomona Public Library,
or even at the Palomares Park Recreation Center office. Tickets are five bucks a
pop (kids 12-and-under are only $3.00) Cash and checks are the only form of payment
they accept, so leave your jewel-encrusted statuettes at home.
OCTOBER 28, 2011:
The Maltese Falcon: The name of a certain black-enameled statuette. Also the name
of the world’s largest yacht. And now—an atheletic shoe?? According to the manufacturer,
the Maltese Falcon is a“low-cut, SPD shoe built for the demands of mountain biking,
BMX and Dirt Jumping. The new Maltese Falcon has a stiff but sensitive midsole for
cranking power—and we’ve added a Velcro® Brand ankle strap for extra support.” Okay.
OCTOBER 25. 2011:
Actor Johnny Depp and director Rob Marshall are ready to cinematically remake Hammett’s
The Thin Man. Actually, “ready” may be too strong a word: several writers have come
and gone from the production, and Depp’s other pet project (a Lone Ranger reboot)
has recently fallen through. Will Nick & Nora return to the big screen? Stay tuned!
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011:
Sam Spade appears live onstage in the form of actor David “Oz” Oswald. The Crowded
Kitchen Players’ production of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Flacon will be playing
through October 9 in Quakerstown, PA. More details can be found here.
AUGUST 8, 2011:
Shane Mawe (always a reliable source of Hammett info) reports that the USPS will
soon be issuing a postage stamp honoring ohn Huston, director of The Maltese Falcon.
The stamp features a portrait of Huston, with Sam Spade holding the black bird in
the background. Click here for more details.
APRIL 5, 2011:
Publisher Vince Emery took time out of his hectic schedule to pass along this audio
link to KALW radio, which is about Hammett in general and his recently: discovered
stories in specific. (There is also a transcript of the audio on the same page.) Thanks,
MARCH 5, 2011:
Don Herron (who leads the Dashiell Hammett tour up and down the mean streets of Frisco)
has recently revamped his website, which now features a terrific blog. Just added
this evening: a fascinating article about Hammett’s days as a Pinkerton strikebreaker,
including an rare photo from the period. Clicking here will take you to Don’s site.
FEBRUARY 10, 2011:
Attention, residents of Charlottesville, VA: The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey
Bogart as Sam Spade, is returning to the big screen! It’s happening at the historic
Paramount Theatreon March 7, 2011. The show starts at 7 PM, and tickets are a mere
six bucks! Click here for more details.
FEBRUARY 4, 2011:
Strand Magazine is now accepting pre-orders for the upcoming issue, featuring a never-before-published
Hammett story (entitled “So I Shot Him.”). Click here to order your own copy!
JANUARY 27, 2011:
Parlez–vous Hammett? Publishing whiz Vince Emery passed along this link showing
a variety of French-language Hammett novel covers. Take a look!
JANUARY 26, 2011:
Catherine Bigelow had this nice Hammett-related feature in today’s San Francisco
Chronicle. The accompanying photo shows Bill Arney (former resident of Hammett’s
Post Street apartment, who moved out in 2010) posing with current tenant Robert Mailer
Anderson (author of Boonville), with “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller in between. (Don’t
worry that the headline is “Silicon Valley up for the Oil Cleanup X Challenge.” It’s
the right article!)
JANUARY 13. 2011:
This just came in on my Associated Press news ticker:
NEW YORK (AP) — Case closed: An unpublished Dashiell Hammett story is coming out
decades after his death. "So I Shot Him," a 19-page crime thriller written in the
clipped style Hammett made famous in The Maltese Falcon and other works, will appear
in the winter/spring issue of Strand Magazine, managing editor Andrew F. Gulli said
Thursday. The issue comes out Feb. 28. Gulli found the undated story, and 14 others
by Hammett, while looking through archives at the University of Texas in Austin.
The Strand, a quarterly based in Birmingham, Mich., has recently published little-known
works by Graham Greene, Mark Twain and Agatha Christie.
JANUARY 12, 2011:
It is with sadness that I must report the passing of Joe Gores, author of Hammett
(1975) and Spade & Archer (2009). He died fifty years to the day after Dashiell Hammett,
On January 10. Mr. Gores was born in 1931 and was educated at Notre Dame University
and Stanford University. Like Hammett before him, he worked as a San Francisco private
investigator. He won three Edgar Allan Poe Awards (best first novel, best short
story, best TV episode) as well as Japan's Maltese Falcon Award. Mr. Gores's memorial
mass will be held Friday, January 21 at 11:30 AM at St Sebastian Catholic Church,
373 Bon Air Road (corner of St. Francis Blvd.) in Kentfield (near Greenbrae), California. To
read the obituary that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.
JANUARY 11, 2011:
Elisabeth Johnson submits the following:
“Perhaps of interest to Hammett fans is Turner Classic Movies' premiere showing of
City Streets (1931) on Friday, January 21, 8 PM (Eastern), 5 PM (Pacific) with an
encore screening on Saturday, March 12, 1:15 AM (Eastern), Friday, March 11 10:15
PM (Pacific). As far as I know, this is the first time this film has ever been shown
on TV and is part of TCM's "Early Gangster Films" block of screenings on the 21st.” For
more information, click here.
JANUARY 10, 2011:
Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Dashiell Hammett’s death in 1961. Of course,
by the early 1960s, his glory days as a writer were long over. His health was shattered
and his money had all been squandered or seized by the IRS. Click here to read Hammett's
obituary as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
OCTOBER 16, 2010:
As many Hammett fans know, page 192 of Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man (page 192
of the original hardback edition, anyway) contains a certain “five word question”
that shocked the sensibilities of 1930s readers. So how did the publisher smooth
over the controversy? By taking out an ad to draw more attention to it, of course! Blogger
Stephen Altobello has managed to track down the original ad (it was in the January
30, 1934 edition of The New York Times). In addition, Stephen has written a pretty
nifty column about the scandalous “five word question.” Click here to see the ad
and read the blog!
OCTOBER 12, 2010:
Remember at the end of The Maltese Falcon, when Casper Gutman carves a sliver of
enamel from the base of the “black bird” to reveal that it’s actually made of… chocolate???
Okay, maybe not, but it’s a way of leading into this item concerning an actual chocolate
falcon (sculpted by Hazel Hill) as part of the Big Read program in Topeka, Kansas. Click
here for the creamy details.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010:
Somewhere Casper Gutman must be shedding a tear. A group of investors that included
billionaire Stewart Rahr and Leonardo DiCaprio (!!!) placed the winning bid of $305,000
for that resin falcon that was used in publicity shots for The Maltese Falcon back
in 1941. (See September 17th's entry below).
SEPTEMBER 25, 2010:
If you live in the Topeka area, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk to Richard
Layman, a man who knows as much about Dashiell Hammett as anyone alive. Rick will
be conducting an informal talk and Q&A session at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public
Library on October 17th at 3PM. A quick click here will bring additional info.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010:
As of today, you can own a copy of what is arguably Hammett’s most influential work—even
though it hasn’t been available for over eighty years! The original text of The
Maltese Falcon (serialized in Black Mask magazine back in 1929, which reportedly
has “thousands of differences” from the 1930 novel) is included in The Black Lizard
Big Book of Black Mask Stories, a new 1136-page collection, edited by Otto Penzler. To
find out more, click here.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010:
Here’s your chance to own “one of the most important and recognizable objects in
the history of cinema:” one of the original resin falcon statuettes from the 1941
movie of The Maltese Falcon. Weighing 4 pounds, 5.4 ounces and standing 11 1/2 inches
tall, it turned up in New Jersey several years back. The consensus is that this resin
bird is indeed the falcon that appeared in several 8x10 publicity photos, in the
hands of Humphrey Bogart. Oh, by the way—you’ll need at least $150,000 for your
opening bid! Details may be found by clicking here.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010:
Have you ever wanted to be Sam Spade? Well, you can’t—but if you live in Sandy,
Utah, you might be able to come close. Auditions for Hunt Mysteries Christmas season
show Hammer Spade is September 16, 7-9PM at Spaghetti Mama’s in the Jordan Commons
complex. The show will perform November thru January in the Salt Lake Valley, mostly
at Spaghetti Mama’s. The title character is Hammer Spade, private eye, and is a
blend of Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye. For
more details on how to audition, click here.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2010:
“It all began Thursday afternoon when I entered my office and, discovered a tall,
wild young man sitting in my chair with his feet up on my desk and sampling my office
bottle. The pose was so familiar, for a minute I thought it was me.”—so says detective
Sam Spade, who will be portrayed onstage the evening of Tuesday, September 21. Beowulf
Alley Theatre’s Old Time Radio Theatre Company will present “The Flopsy, Mopsy and
Cottontail Caper,” adapted from a 1949 radio episode of The Adventures of Sam Spade.
Also on the bill is a re-enactment of a Burns & Allen Show from the same year, entitled
“The Sam Spade Episode.” The theatre is located at 11 South 6th Avenue, downtown
Tucson. Additional details may be found by clicking here.
AUGUST 27, 2010:
The Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme, Connecticut will host a discussion
of Hammett’s novel Red Harvest. It’ll happen at 7 PM on September 7, and is part
of the free series of book discussion programs, “Literature for a Lifetime: The Mystery
Novel As a Reflection of its Times.” Click here for more details.
AUGUST 25, 2010:
This item comes from Julie Rivett (Hammett’s granddaughter): If you’re going to be
in Beverly Hills on the evening of September 13, make a point to see The Maltese
Falcon on the big screen for a mere five bucks! It’s all part of the Oscar Noir
Encore program, put on by no less that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For
more details, click here.
AUGUST 20, 2010:
This isn’t strictly Hammett news, but you’ll want to know this anyway: Bill Arney
(who was until recently the resident of Hammett’s Post Street apartment, and is also
the voice of the Noir City film festival) has now reinvented himself as a TV star! He’s
now the host/creator of Cheese Theater, a hilarious new series that features cheesy
old movies and snarky commentary. Even though it’s on cable TV in the Marin County
area, you can still watch it by by clicking on this link every Saturday night at
10 PM (Pacific time). Episode three airs tonight, so check it out!
AUGUST 9, 2010:
Lavanya Jayashankar of Singapore wants us to know about The Mammoth Book of Best
Crime Comics, edited by Paul Gravett, which includes “a lengthy continuity from Dashiell
Hammett's newspaper strip Secret Agent X-9, with art by the great Alex Raymond!”
It’s available on Amazon.com. Thanks for the tip, Lavanya!
AUGUST 3, 2010:
Attention Hammett fans in Montana: the Clark Fork Chronicle reports that the Missoula
Public Library will be giving out more than 2,200 copies of The Maltese Falcon, thanks
to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, the library is
partnering with multiple community groups and businesses to hold six weeks of Maltese
Falcon programs Oct. 5-Nov. 13. “This is a chance for everybody in the area to
read the same book at the same time,” says the paper’s website. “Big Read programs
have been popular all around the country, bringing together residents in a common
experience—one that encourages reading, community involvement, and is a lot of fun
besides.” Missoula is one of 268 communities nationwide participating in The Big
Read this year.
JULY 1, 2010:
According to the Ottawa Citizen, look for Warner Brothers to release the Bogart version
of The Maltese Falcon on Blu-Ray this coming October. “The bonus features are pretty
much the same as they were for their snazzy DVD editions, but those were quite extensive,”
reports the Canadian publication.
MAY 17, 2010:
For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, you won’t want to miss hearing Mark
Coggins (author of the August Riordan mysteries) at the Montclair branch of the Oakland
Public Library (1687 Mountain Blvd). Mark will be speaking on “80 Years of Mystery”
and the place Hammett’s Maltese Falcon holds in the crime fiction canon. It all happens
Saturday, May 22nd at 1:00 PM. For complete details, click here.
APRIL 17, 2010:
Marlboro (Vermont) College is currently staging The Maltese Falcon, directed by Joshua
Moyse. For some behind-the-scenes photos, click here.
APRIL 15, 2010:
Yuri Rasovsky informs us that Blackstone Audio's Maltese Falcon dramatization has
been nominated for three Audie Awards (which are bestowed by the Audio Publisher
Association). The nominations are in the categories of Best Audio Drama, Best Adaptation
and Achievement in Production. The winners will be announced May 25.