Home » Books in General » A New Story by the Master of Hardboiled Detective Fiction

A New Story by the Master of Hardboiled Detective Fiction

2 December 2017

From Electric Lit:

November 1925: Dashiell Hammett is thirty-one years old with a pregnant wife, a four-year-old daughter, and a tubercular illness that fluctuates between barely manageable and debilitating. He is living on the edge financially and his primary source of income, along with VA disability payments, comes from his stories in Black Mask magazine, whose editor seems to him stingy and officious. Attempting to broaden his literary base and fatten his meager earnings, he had that year published two stories in Sunset, a magazine that promoted tourism on the Pacific Coast while promising its readers “the best fiction money will buy.” He wrote reviews and criticism for The Editor and The Forum, publications with a more literary readership that encouraged debate on issues related to the liberal arts. And he published poetry in The Lariat, a little magazine devoted serious verse. He was desperate for a paycheck, however small.

. . . .

In the May 1925 issue of The Editor, Hammett summed up his writing career to that point: “About half of the fiction I have written has had to do with crime, though, curiously, I was some time getting the hang of the detective story. And while, with the connivance of the Black Mask, that type of story has paid most of my rent and grocery bills during the past two years, I have sold at least one or two specimens of most of the other types to a list of magazines, varied enough if not so extensive.”

. . . .

[I]n September 2017 Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie Rivett, co-editor with me on The Big Book of the Continental Op, sent an email saying she had just read a notice on the Dashiell Hammett Reading Group Facebook page posted by Kevin Burton Smith, founder of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, stating that an unnamed fan had come across a previously unrecorded story by Hammett in True Police Stories. The title, “The Glass That Laughed,” and the magazine were unfamiliar to us. Julie asked Kevin to put us in contact with his correspondent. The next day I received a call from Daniel Robinson, a fireman and author, who agreed to sell me the November 1925 issue of True Police Stories, a short-lived magazine published monthly from May 1924 to April 1926 “under the auspices of the International Police Conference” as an “organ of the New York Police Department.” Three days later the package arrived. It was Hammett all right.

Link to the rest at Electric Lit

Books in General

2 Comments to “A New Story by the Master of Hardboiled Detective Fiction”

  1. Holy crud. Usually these “lost” stories are weak sauce, but this is freakin’ creepy.

    Hammett is still the master.

  2. Just Another Curmudgeon

    Short but classic Hammett.

    I’m sad that they have ginned up a collection of all of his Continental Op stories and novels and only see it in dead tree format.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.