Dashiell Hammett is a unique kind of crime writer whose stories blend history, intrigue and mystery. His famed detective Sam Spade has made a return to fiction in the latest collection of Hammett’s stories (some of them unpublished), in The Hunter and Other Stories (2013) edited by Hammett’s granddaughter Julie M. Rivett and Richard Layman. While his books, including The Maltese Falcon (1930), The Thin Man (1934), and Red Harvest (1929), all remain widely popular, Hammett’s short stories are an invaluable edition to his dark oeuvre. The Lost Stories collection (2005), edited by Vince Emery, contains a number of tales of mystery, irony and twisted fates in the vein of The Twilight Zone. Along with new and never-before published tales, this latest collection contains screen treatments that have been kept in the film industry’s files, including ‘On the Make,’ the basis for the rare 1935 film Mr Dynamite, and ‘The Kiss-Off’ the basis for City Streets (1931), a great American Noir featuring Sylvia Sidney and Gary Cooper. San Francisco’s John’s Grill, a restaurant that used to be frequented by Hammett in the 1920s, recently celebrated the launch of the book with a private launch party. The book is sure to appeal to those die-hard fans of Hammett’s keen to go through the archives. The Hunter and Other Stories is to be published tomorrow (November 21, 2013), by both Grove Press and Atlantic Monthly Press.
For a theoretical take on Hammett’s work, see Matthew Asprey’s: Owning It: Dashiell Hammett, Martha Ivers, and the Poisonous Noir City