With your great detective skills you could make quite
a living being a consultant to writers......ever think
about that? When it comes to peeling the onion of
life you are great. Congrats on the Nell Martin
mention. Always nice to have in the resume'. By the
way, send me you snail mail address so I can forward a
check for your book I bought. tj
--- keith2draw <keith2draw@...
I found out this week that I was mentioned in the
section of a major book released recently, and at the
patting myself on the back, I'd like to give you all
There have been about a half dozen or so biographies
the author Dashiell Hammett over the years. Hammett is
responsible for creating the literary character Sam
detective made famous in Hammett's book The Maltese
was also made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart.
Sam Spade has
become over the years the stereotypical private
hundreds of films, television shows and commercials.
wrote the The Thin Man, The Dain Curse, Red Harvest
and The Glass
Key, as well as a number of Hollywood screenplays.
Hammett was a ladies man, and had affairs with many
while he was married. Three of his books were
dedicated to important
women in his life...and one of these books, The Glass
dedicated to Nell Martin. None of the Hammett
biographers over the
years have ever been able to find out much about her.
She was until
recently a total mystery.
Nell first came to my attention about five years ago,
researching Don Blanding. One day, I read in a 1935
interview that he had written five short stories with
Not knowing who Nell was, I began to investigate her.
mentions of her in the New York Times, the Los Angeles
Internet Movie Database...and slowly a picture began
to develop of
who she was: the author of eight novels and a few
stories, and screenplays for a series of short films
serials based on her character Maisie Ravier....but
nothing else was
known about her, except that she was the girlfriend of
Hammett for a
few years, and dedicated one of her books to him.
Over the last several years I have slowly peeled away
at the mystery
surrounding her and discovered almost all the details
of her life:
she was married on a number of occasions, changing her
time (which is why no one else could track her). She
around a great deal, living in San Francisco, Los
San Diego, New York, and a number of places as a
Colorado Springs and Denver. Through determined
detective work (some
by Bev Leinbach) and dumb luck, I was able to find her
censuses, city directories, and newspapers. I tracked
down a living
stepson (in his eighties) who provided me with enough
info to fill
in more gaps and locate a death certificate, a
and several other important documents.
One of the most accomplished biographers of Hammett is
a man named
Richard Layman, who has authored and edited dozens of
Dashiell. He is an absolute expert on Hammett. I
contacted him and
he was amazed at how much I had learned about Nell,
and we exchanged
info. His latest book is titled DISCOVERING THE
MALTESE FALCON AND
SAM SPADE, which is a resource book for Hammett
collectors, of which there are apparently many. In the
book he gives
me the following credit: "Keith Emmons has for the
provided reliable information about the elusive Nell
Just one line, but it's kind of neat to know I have
contribution towards the collaborative effort of
life of one of America's great writers. I'm working on
about Nell which I hope to have published in a
sometime this year. I've discovered even more about
her, and have
purposely not revealed these new facts to the Hammett
must always hold some cards under their sleeve, just
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