Monday, June 11, 2012
"You got to look on the bright side, even if there ain't one."
We kick things off with Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) whose Sam Spade became one of the most influential private detective characters in literature despite only being the protagonist of one novel, The Maltese Falcon (1930), and a couple of minor short stories. My first run-in with Dashiell was Red Harvest, a gritty crime story of racketeers and corruption that featured the surly and stocky Continental Op. The book was one of the progenitors of the "servant of two masters" plot-line that led to such films as Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) and a Leone's Fistful of Dollars (1964).