novels and short stories
, and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade
(The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles
(The Thin Man
), and the Continental Op
and The Dain Curse
In addition to the significant influence his novels and stories had on film, Hammett "is now widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time" and was called, in his obituary in The New York Times
, "the dean of the...
"Tall-over six feet-and one of the thinnest men I’ve ever seen. He must be about fifty now and his hair was almost white when I knew him.Usually needs a haircut, ragged brindle mustache, bites his fingernails." I pushed the dog away to reach for my drink.
"You got types?""Only you, darling-lanky brunettes with wicked jaws."
"A lot of fancier yarns come from people trying to tell the truth. It’s not easy once you’re out of the habit."
"How do you feel?""Terrible. I must have gone to bed sober."
"That’s why I don’t very often drink, or even smoke. I want to try cocaine, though because that’s suppose to sharpen the brain, isn’t it?"
"She keeps trying and you’ve got to be careful or you’ll find yourself believing her, not because she seems to be telling the truth, but simply because you’re tired of disbelieving her."
Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down-from high flat temples-in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blonde Satan.
She was tall and pleasantly slender, without angularity anywhere. Her body was erect and high-breasted, her legs long, her hands and feet narrow. She wore two shades of blue that had been selected because of her eyes. The hair curling from under her blue hat was darkly red, her full lips more brightly red. White teeth glistened in the crescent her timid smile made.
His features were small, in keeping with his stature, and regular. His skin was very fair. The whiteness of his cheeks was as little blurred by any considerable growth of beard as by the glow of blood. His clothing was neither new nor of more than ordinary quality, but it, and his manner of wearing it was marked by a hard masculine neatness.