Hammett: On the Trail

Remember the Alamo!

Meanwhile, Terry Zobeck is hot on the trail of the last few Hammett stories he wants to check, to make sure we have the best texts — the pure texts — when we slip off our gumshoes and plop down in the easy chair for a hard-boiled reread.

Terry began his quest last year, and managed to cut down the list of stories needed within mere months. Now he says, “A few weeks ago I contacted the Library of Congress to see if they had any of the pulps with Hammett stories that we need for the pure text project in their rare book collection, and if so, whether they had been digitized or were otherwise available.

“I heard back within a few days that they did indeed have three of the seven we need (The Vicious Circle BM 6/15/23; Night Shots BM 2/1/24; and Afraid of a Gun BM 3/1/24). However, they have not been digitized or otherwise copied. They are quite fragile and therefore cannot be photocopied.

“I wrote back and suggested I could photograph them if someone were to
carefully hold them open, much like my daughter and I did for ‘This King

“I got no response until this morning. The staffer I had communicated with called my home number this morning and spoke with my wife. I called him back a few minutes ago and he has arranged for me to come in and photograph the three stories. I need to check my calendar and propose a few dates, but sometime soon I should have them.

“I also need to check UCLA’s holdings; I seem to recall they have a substantial collection of pulps. Bowling Green in Ohio is another possible source.

“Now that I’ve got my teeth into this, I won’t stop until we’ve got them all.”

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