Born: 27 May 1894
Died: 10 January 1961 (complications from lung cancer)
Birthplace: St. Mary's County, Maryland
Best known as: The author of "The Maltese Falcon"
Dashiell Hammett is often called the father of the modern American detective story. Hammett was himself a private detective for Pinkerton's before turning to writing at age 28. Many of his subsequent stories featured the Continental Op, the nameless private detective -- a tough, smart, streetwise and unsentimental loner -- who became the archetype for a generation of hard-boiled mystery story detectives. Among Hammett's best-known novels are The Dain Curse (1929), The Maltese Falcon (1930), and The Thin Man (1932). The hero of The Maltese Falcon, detective Sam Spade, is a famous fictional character and was played by Humphrey Bogart in the film version of the novel. Dashiell Hammett had a long and feisty love relationship with author Lillian Hellman, which is sometimes blamed for his minimal writing output from 1934 until his death.
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