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Lost Stories by Dashiell Hammett
Questions answered by this book

The 21 stories in Lost Stories range from the first story Dashiell Hammett ever wrote to his last. They are linked by a biography by Vince Emery that puts each short story into the context of the bigger story of Hammett's life.

Emery's comments are based on recent information revealed by the recent volume of Hammett's Selected Letters, and by Emery's own original research. Emery's biographical text answers many questions rarely or never answered in other books about Hammett. Here are just a few:

  • Hammett worked as a Pinkerton's detective. What did he say was his most exciting work as a detective? (See page 38.)
  • What nickname did Hammett give his wife-to-be that he also called his mother? (See page 39.)
  • What obstacle did Hammett and his wife need to surmount to rent an apartment in San Francisco? (See page 41.)
  • What conspiracy restricted Hammett's medical treatment? (See page 43.)
  • What symbol did Hammett place in his very first short story and in his first published novel? (See page 64.)
  • How did H.L. Mencken discover Hammett? (See page 66.)
  • Why was Hammett's first appearance in print a bittersweet victory? (See page 70.)
  • What did H.L. Mencken think of Hammett? (See page 75.)
  • What was unusual about Hammett's health at the end of 1922? (See page 86.)
  • What was the first review printed about Hammett's writing? (See page 107.)
  • What big San Francisco news story led H.L. Mencken to quit The Smart Set? (See page 120.)
  • What actual location did Hammett use as the setting for his story "Laughing Masks"? (See page 140.)
  • What is the only story Hammett ever wrote set in a time period other than the present? (See page 209.)
  • When did Hammett quit writing the first time? (See page 228.)
  • What was the link between Hammett's social life and a medical problem? (See page 230.)
  • After Hammett moved out of his San Francisco apartment, what sign did officials nail on his door? (See page 230.)
  • Hammett wrote and designed advertisements; what results did he claim for his ads? (See page 240.)
  • When did Hammett stop working at Albert Samuels Jewelers? (See page 240.)
  • What is the mystery of Hammett's San Francisco money? (See page 244.)
  • What short story almost got Hammett accused of fostering Communism? (See pages 263-264.)

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Lost Stories is the first title in The Ace Performer Collection, a series of books by and about Dashiell Hammett, crowned "the ace performer" by his disciple Raymond Chandler.

8 illustrations, 38 photographs; 352 pages. Edited by Vince Emery. Trade hardcover edition publication date September 1, 2005, $24.95, ISBN 0-9725898-1-3.

Order Lost Stories from your local mystery bookstore, your local independent bookstore, and all major bookstores and online booksellers.

Booksellers order from Independent Publishers Group (IPG), (800) 888-4741, fax (312) 337-5985,

Publication of the trade hardcover edition was preceded by a deluxe limited edition. Click here for information about the deluxe limited edition.

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