Nathan Ward just informed me of a tidbit he did for Crimereads, about the meeting of Hammett and Gertrude Stein.
If you have his bio of Hammett, The Lost Detective, you’ve already got the gist of the incident. Especially these days, you can do a book then break it into parts — in the old days you kind of did the parts here and there then pulled them together into a book. (I’ve got one of those perking through the pipeline at the moment, and once I get something into a solid book, I tend to leave it alone. But then I’m not living the freelance life like Nathan does.)
I think Nathan mostly popped this one my way for the info on attitudes to your basic detective novel.
I had sent him a link to my most recent review for Publishers Weekly, which I notified a few people about because I was amazed that almost all my wording got past editorial intact. I’m especially happy my Sinatra vs. Borgnine bit made it into print. You never know what they’re going to cut or change-up.
In the official published version, the last line mentions “undemanding crime readers” — which isn’t precisely equivalent to my original wording of “comes up with solutions to the locked-room and other puzzles that ought to keep most crime readers content.”
What the hell, close enough, I guess — undemanding vs. most. You’ll find that Gertrude falls into that category of most, though if she really wanted to meet Hammett — and she did — then she could savor a superior performance as well.
For many of the most I think the genre is just mush. But they like it.