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September 2019 Notable Maryland Author Samuel Dashiell Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett

“All my characters were based on people I've known personally, or known about.” – Dashiell Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett (May 27, 1894 – January 10, 1961) was born on a farm in St Mary's County, Maryland and grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. He worked as an operative for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency from 1915 to February 1922, with time off to serve in World War I. Hammett was first published in 1922 starting the genre that was eventually labeled Hard-Boiled Crime.

Authors are told to “write what you know” and Hammett lived in San Francisco and knew Pinkerton detective work. Nosy couple Nick and Nora Charles and hard-boiled private eye Sam Spade are the enduring characters Hammet created. They lived and sleuthed in the streets, sounds, and locations of San Francisco using language that was authentic to the era and work. His 1929 novel Red Harvest was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005. He wrote his final novel in 1934, more than 25 years before his death and is widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time. A veteran of both world wars, Hammett is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Genre: Hard-Boiled Crime

Hard-Boiled Crime – Hard-boiled Crime is a tough, unsentimental style of American crime writing that brings an earthy realism or naturalism to the field of detective fiction. Hard-boiled fiction contains vivid, but often sordid urban backgrounds, fast-paced, slangy dialogue and graphic sex and violence.

Partial reading list: The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, Red Harvest, The Dain Curse.

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) invites you to have fun writing Hard-Boiled Crime. Using just 100 words, write Hard-Boiled Crime that takes place in San Francisco in 1929. Name your Private Eye, pick and include a San Francisco street and landmark, and describe the pending crime and victim. Have fun and send us your result.

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

Submit by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  Selected submissions may be published at www.mwawritersroundtable.org the following month.

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