Hammett Unwritten

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9781616147143: Hammett Unwritten

A worthless bird statuette -- the focus of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. And much more.

As Dashiell Hammett closes his final case as a private eye, the details of which will later inspire his most famous book, he acquires at a police auction the bogus object of that case, an obsidian falcon statuette.  He casually sets the memento on his desk, where for a decade it bears witness to his literary rise. Until he gives it away.

Now, suffering writer’s block, the famous author begins to wonder about rumors of the falcon’s “metaphysical qualities,” which link it to a powerful, wish-fulfilling black stone cited in legends from around the world. He can’t deny that when he possessed the statuette he wrote one acclaimed book after another, and that without it his fortunes have changed. As his block stretches from months to years, he becomes entangled again with the scam artists from the old case, each still fascinated by the “real” black bird and its alleged talismanic power.

A dangerous maze of events takes Hammett from 1930s San Francisco to the glamorous Hollywood of the 1940s, a federal penitentiary at the time of the McCarthy hearings, and finally to a fateful meeting on New Year’s Eve, 1959, at a Long Island estate. There the dying Hammett confronts a woman from his past who proves to be his most formidable rival.

And his last hope.

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From the Author:

I have always been intrigued by the seams where fact meets myth and, even more, by the dynamic exchange between the two, which is sometimes strong enough to rip such seams apart, leaving us unable to discern where one ends and the other begins.  That the great mystery writer Dashiell Hammett actually worked in his early twenties as a private detective presents obvious opportunities for such exploration.  However, it was not until I came upon the following Hammett quote in a 1934 edition of the New York Evening Journal that I conceived a truly original way into his story: "All of my characters are real.  They are based directly on people I knew, or came across."  This put me in mind of his classic novel The Maltese Falcon, which I admire not only for its craft but also for the audacious revelation at its conclusion that the sought after black bird was still out there.  So I wondered: who had been the "real life" models for the Fat Man, Joel Cairo, and Bridget O'Shaughnessy, all of whom must have known Samuel Dashiell Hammett in his P.I. days and may have drifted in and out of his life thereafter, witnessing his transition from gumshoe to bestselling novelist to blocked writer? And, if they were real, might the young Hammett have actually worked a case involving a black statuette, the mysterious nature of which exceeded even the fictionalized jeweled version in his famous novel?  And, finally, might that "real" statuette have haunted Dashiell Hammett in unexpected ways long after he achieved fame and fortune, its presence covertly tangled among the known elements of his celebrated and dramatic life? Good questions.  So I wrote Hammett Unwritten to find the answers.

About the Author:

Owen Fitzstephen is a practitioner of what Dashiell Hammett called "the literary grift".

Gordon McAlpine is the author of numerous novels.

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Book Description Seventh Street Books, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A worthless bird statuette -- the focus of Dashiell Hammett s The Maltese Falcon. And much more. As Dashiell Hammett closes his final case as a private eye, the details of which will later inspire his most famous book, he acquires at a police auction the bogus object of that case, an obsidian falcon statuette. He casually sets the memento on his desk, where for a decade it bears witness to his literary rise. Until he gives it away. Now, suffering writer s block, the famous author begins to wonder about rumors of the falcon s metaphysical qualities, which link it to a powerful, wish-fulfilling black stone cited in legends from around the world. He can t deny that when he possessed the statuette he wrote one acclaimed book after another, and that without it his fortunes have changed. As his block stretches from months to years, he becomes entangled again with the scam artists from the old case, each still fascinated by the real black bird and its alleged talismanic power. A dangerous maze of events takes Hammett from 1930s San Francisco to the glamorous Hollywood of the 1940s, a federal penitentiary at the time of the McCarthy hearings, and finally to a fateful meeting on New Year s Eve, 1959, at a Long Island estate. There the dying Hammett confronts a woman from his past who proves to be his most formidable rival. And his last hope. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781616147143

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