By Don Herron, Vince Emery Productions, $14.95, 214 pages

10“With his background as a detective, Hammett quickly saw the likelihood of cracking the detective pulp fiction market.”

Don Herron provides fascinating documentation of Dashiell Hammett’s life and times in San Francisco-gathered here from his thirty year old San Francisco tour on the subject. Fans of Hammett will enjoy the opportunity to learn more about his interesting life and his digs in the City by the Bay. Dashiell Hammett, as told, was an influential writer who elevated the crime story to a literary art form. One should have read The Maltese Falcon, a masterpiece of American literature, to fully understand the contents of this tour book which will provide valuable insights into this most riveting tale.

The book also provides all sorts of fascinating trivia about San Francisco and its other historic literary figures. Herron is not alone in his appraisal of Hammett, the book including a preface by his daughter Jo Hammett and an introduction by crime writer Charles Willeford. It is also filled with quotes from others in the field.

Unfortunately some will find spoilers and digressions in this dense book. However, the book does provide a model for how to organize a literary tour, and one may be happy that Herron has published biographical books about other famous literary figures.

Reviewed by Ryder Miller