esterday's reading was the most touching I'll likely do for this year's Bouchercon or maybe any other year's, as well. I'm too busy preparing to make a full post about Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers
, so I'll offer a few selections from the book that seem especially pertinent to Hammett's work and life. Fuller treatment may follow next month at Bouchercon 2015
in Raleigh, N.C. , when I moderate a discussion with the book's two editors, Richard Layman
and Julie M. Rivett
. The discussion is called "Inside the Mind and Work of Dashiell Hammett,"
and happens Saturday, October 10, at 8:30 a.m.
The author of A Daughter Remembers
, Jo Hammett, is Dashiell Hammett's daughter and Rivett's mother. As you might guess, the book, published in 2001, is full of family photos and recollections of family life. This is especially valuable in the case of a writer as private, as sparing of information about himself, as Hammett was. Jo Hammett also has a better eye and ear for what made Hammett a great writer than do many who have written about him. She's also capable of an occasional flash of delightful, stinging wit, which makes her sound a bit like her father. Here's some of what she has to say in this memoir:
"Red Harvest comes out of Black Mask days. It's got Black Mask rough edges and give-it-all-you're got energy. The later novels are smoother, more finely tuned. But this is the one I like best, because it's hard like its people. funny and unforgiving, and sounds most like Papa.
"`Lock me in a room with a set of encyclopedias, and I'll come up with a plot,' [Hammett] used to say. His idea of heaven was going cross-country in a train compartment, in his pajamas, reading all the way."
"[Hammett] took Mary and me backstage to meet Ethel Barrymore ... She was charming to us and very regal. In a parting remark she said something to him about the play having `great social significance,' perhaps thinking that would strike a sympathetic chord with him. He was quick to agree. `Oh, yes, absolutely.' I could tell by the look on his face he was thinking, `Yeah, about as much as Krazy Kat
"Papa had a generally low opinion of actors. He despised their self-pre-occupation and their ruthlessness."
© Peter Rozovsky 2015
Labels: Bouchercon 2015, Dashiell Hammett, Jo Hammett, Julie M. Rivett, My Bouchercon 2015 panels, Richard Layman