The Big Read Blog (Archive)

"New" Work from Dashiell Hammett

Washington, DC

Photo of Dashiell Hammett courtesy of Josephine Hammett.

Here at The Big Read, it goes without saying that we?re unabashed lit geeks. So you can imagine our excitement when we learned that a previously unpublished story by Dashiell Hammett, author of Big Read novel The Maltese Falcon, recently made its debut in the latest issue of The Strand Magazine. New work by any favorite author is always a thrill, but when the author has been dead for 40 years, it feels like an especially unexpected, lucky gift.

The story, titled ?So I Shot Him,? was unearthed by Strand managing editor Andrew Gulli in Hammett?s archives at the University of Texas. Gulli also located 14 other unpublished works by the author, and hopes to publish the collection as a single volume. For now, we?re content with these five new pages of Hammett prose.

?So I Shot Him? uses the blunt, titular confession as its opening line, leaving little room for doubt as to why Hammett?s style is frequently described as ?hardboiled.? Although the murder isn?t ever fully explored, the initial reference is enough to cast a sinister shadow on the rest of the story, which centers on one man?s attempt to teach an aquaphobic acquaintance how to swim. The story is tense and deeply psychological, and will leave readers questioning the actions and intentions of its characters. It's a great, gripping read, and is a good reason to scope out The Strand at your local bookstore or library.

For more information about Hammett, please visit The Big Read website.

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