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Dashiell Hammett: Perfected the Hardboiled Detective

Dashiell Hammet Hard Boiled Writer

1894-1961. Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author, most often credited for creating the hardboiled detective genre. Although not the first to write in this genre, Hammetts stories perfected the hard boiled formula.

Hammett used his first hand knowledge of the detective buisness to create complex and exciting plots along with memorable and believable characters. He worked for the famed Pinkerton detective agency until tuburculosis forced him to find a less taxing form of work. His most famous novel, The Maltese Falcon, introduced Sam Spade, a surly, self-assured detective that defined the hard boiled character.

He started his writing career working for one of the top pulp fiction magazines, Black Mask. Starting with a pseudonym of "Peter Collinson", he later dropped the name to use his own Middle (Dashiell) and last name, rather than his first, "Samuel."

By 1927, he had written the "Poisonville" series, which later formed the novel, "Red Harvest". By the end of 1930, he had written his best work: The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, and The Glass Key.

After a relatively short writing career of nine years, Hammett brought his works to Hollywood where a number of his characters and stories, especially Same Spade, made the leap into immortality.

His stories and characters made the jump for pulp fiction magazines over to novels, then on to the movies, radio, and still influence today's pop culture.


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