Thursday, March 03, 2016

Not only make-believe …

… Hard-boiled, hard-edged and Hollywood | TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

One Pinkerton operative who achieved an enviable reputation for strike-breaking and surveillance was Dashiell Hammett. If his first novel, Red Harvest (1929), achieves exceptional richness of detail in its presentation of labour conflict and local corruption in “Poisonville”, it may be due to his personal involvement in the 1920 miners’ struggle on which it’s based. As in The Maltese Falcon, appearing in the same year, Hammett’s first-hand experience of political sleaze, industrial violence and the everyday routine of an agent allowed for a realism that brought hard-boiled fiction to new heights.

1 comment:

  1. The biography of Hammett appears to me to eke out a handful of facts with a great deal of speculation. I can't blame the author for not looking in files that an organization took pains to destroy, but I think that he would have done better to write a terser book.