Here's a post from December 2013 that is more relevant today than ever. I'll be discussing Dashiell Hammett with Julie M. Rivett and Richard Layman at Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, N.C., next month in a session called "Inside the Mind and Work of Dashiell Hammett." The Bouchercon schedule calls it a special event, and I agree. Hammett was the best ever, and Julie and Rick know more about him than just about anyone else. See you there;
the fun starts at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 10.
ulie M. Rivett, co-editor of The Hunter and Other Stories
, the new volume of previously uncollected and unpublished work by Dashiell Hammett, drove up from Orange County to chat with Detectives Beyond Borders about the book, Hammett, the movie interpretations of his work, his critical reception at home and abroad, and other subjects—including some of her favorites among current crime writers.
Rivett is not just a Hammett scholar and researcher, she's also the daughter of Hammett's daughter Jo (she met her grandfather once, when she was 3 years old) and, she says, "What I want to come from this is that people will read [Hammett's work] as literature. I want to make him a rounder character." Your humble blogkeeper says the book, co-edited with the noted Hammett biographer and scholar Richard Layman, will do just that, especially in the form of "The Secret Emperor
Rivett says the combination of her personal contacts and Layman's professional ones strengthens their partnership. (They also worked together on Return of the Thin Man
, which brought together two previously unpublished stories about Nick and Nora Charles.) And, asked about the portrayals of Hammett as a communist, a drunk, or a bad family man, Rivett rebuts some of the stories, concedes others, and says: "It's always a difficult thing for me when people co-opt my actual grandfather."
Her list of favorite contemporary crime writers includes Declan Hughes, Dennis Lehane, Michael Koryta, and George Pelecanos, and if I were a crime writer favored by a descendant and scholar of the greatest of all crime writers, my sinews would come unstrung and my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth for a few minutes before I was able to resume writing.
Rivett on Hammett's reception in France and Italy, and the possibility of more Hammett material to come.
ivett and I met for tea and a wine chaser at the Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard, close to stars on the Walk of Fame that honor several figures prominently connected with Hammett's life, career, and interests. Mary Astor's, Myrna Loy's, and Fatty Arbuckle's stars are within a block and a half of the restaurant, and later I found Peter Lorre's and also the one that honors some guy named Bogart. Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet were perfect for their roles in John Huston's celebrated film version of The Maltese Falcon
, Rivett said, and Bogart, she added, while not physically perfect for the role, did marvelous things with the character.
© Peter Rozovsky 2013
Labels: Bouchercon 2015, Dashiell Hammett, Declan Hughes, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Julie M. Rivett, Michael Koryta, movies, My Bouchercon 2015 panels, The Hunter and Other Stories, what I did on my vacation