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Dashiel Samuel Hammett was born in 1894 and grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. He left school at the age of fourteen, and after various jobs became an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency. World War I intervened, and Hammett soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. The Maltese Falcon (1930), The Thin Man (1932) and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most famous novels. He died in 1961.
'The exuberance of language, the relish with which seediness is described .. it's a pleasure to imagine Hammett cutting loose with whatever rascally high jinks he could cook up' * Margaret Atwood * 'The ace performer' * Raymond Chandler *