Hammett: “Girl Trap”

Our Mean Streets buddy of many years, Mike Humbert, recently got a fascinating tidbit about Hammett tossed his way from Italy — to add to the info on his own Dashiell Hammett website.

Mike punted the info to me, to put up a little faster than he would and get it out to the hard-boiled speaking world.

“The various magazines and newspapers tended to give new titles (often terrible ones) as they saw fit to reprints,” Mike told his new informant. “I hadn’t heard about this one. Thanks for sending it along!”

Now to add in with Continental Op yarn later known as “Girl Hunt,” we have a “new” Op: “Girl Trap.”

Here’s the scoop:

Dear Mister Humbert, My name is Agnelli Tiziano and I live in Brescia, a town 100 km East of Milan, near the Garda Lake.

During research about the short fiction of Dashiell Hammett I stumbled into your interesting blog. I looked for “First Aide to Murder” that was translated in my country back in 1949 with this title. Years ago I compared that Italian edition with the original story titled “The Assistant Murderer” and concluded that it was the same story.

Now I know that it was printed in the April, 1938 edition of Saturday Home Magazine.

But in the serie where it was printed there is another short story with a title I never heard of.

The original title is “The Scorched Face” but in that edition the publisher, Nerbini in Florence, gave another title: “Girl Trap” — printed by concession of King Features Syndicate, N.Y.

As you can imagine now the question is: could it be possible that the story was printed in some unknown magazine, or possibly in the Saturday Home Magazine, retitling it as happened with others of his works?

I think that this bit of info could interest you or your correspondents, and I’d like to know if in the future you’ll find some clue more precise, that can permit us to find it in the first reprint with the changed title.

Best, Tiziano Agnelli

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