21 January 2011

hammett! hammett! hammet!

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I am going to wet my pants:
It's terse. It's polished. There's crime.

It's never been published - until now.

Fifty years after Dashiell Hammett's death, a national mystery magazine is about to publish a long-lost story by the father of the hard-boiled detective novel, and fans are giddy with excitement.

The story, "So I Shot Him," is one of about a dozen of the San Francisco writer's pieces that were never printed anywhere. Word is that, unlike many works authors choose not to publish, this 12-page thriller is high-quality and complete.

Andrew Gulli, managing editor of the Strand Magazine, stumbled across the piece while poking through Hammett's papers at the University of Texas at Austin. He's featuring it in his Feb. 28 issue.

"It was incredible to find this," Gulli said by phone from his office in Birmingham, Mich. "I found 11 to 14 stories not published, and they're all pretty good - but this one just struck me as vintage Hammett. There was just something fantastic about it."
Hammett is my favorite author. Gabriel García Márquez is but a gnat's eyelash under Dashiell Hammett in my estimation, and ordinarily I would grumble that it was never published before because Hammett didn't want it published. He was exacting... just about merciless... about writing... and I'm not sure I trust anyone out there to say it's" high-quality and complete" when Hammett didn't think so, but... well... I think I'm desperate... or something.


For instance, I just heard a Berkeley journalism professor speak of "a pivotal turning point"... so you might be able to hang with my trust issues here... and Hammett might well have socked the guy right in the teeth on the spot.

love, 99

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