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The Dashiell Hammett Tour: Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook (The Ace Performer Collection series) Hardcover – March 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Hammett fans, whether or not they have taken the Dashiell Hammett walking tour that Herron has been conducting in San Francisco since 1977, will welcome this 30th anniversay edition of the guidebook. Herron has a deep reservoir of knowledge of the life of the father of the hard-boiled detective genre, as suggested by the biographical essay that constitutes part one. Part two lays out the itinerary of Herron's tours, including Burritt Street, where a plaque commemorates the first murder in The Maltese Falcon-that of Sam Spade's partner, Miles Archer. In the book's preface, Jo Hammett, Hammett's daughter, reminiscences about taking Herron's tour. The late Charles Willeford's introduction still remains relevant, though as Herron points out in an informative new afterword, Willeford garbled Herron's own biographical details. Admirers of Herron's biography of the cult crime writer, Willeford (1997), will be interested to learn that he met Willeford, whom he had never heard of before, when Willeford took the tour in 1984. Illustrated with maps and photos throughout, this volume will appeal not just to students of Hammett but to anyone curious about the relation between a writer's life and his work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Hammett fans will welcome this guidebook. Illustrated with maps and photos throughout, [it] will appeal to anyone curious about the relation between a writer's life and his work." Publishers Weekly
"Thorough and fun . . . For fans, no trip to San Francisco is complete without a copy of Herron's Dashiell Hammett Tour. Recommended." Library Journal
"It’s fun, fascinating, and fully illustrated with photos of appropriate sites. A gas." San Francisco Chronicle
"Combines Herron's encyclopedic knowledge . . . with a rapid-fire dispensation of history, anecdotes, and passages from books, all delivered in a tone and manner befitting a pulp story by Hammett himself." San Francisco Examiner
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Top customer reviews
"The Dashiell Hammett Tour" doesn't read like a typical tourbook, which tend not to be very exciting unless you are there. Fans who have never been to San Francisco will find plenty to like. Herron always has something interesting to say. He begins with a 46-page biography of Hammett. There are 30 sites on the tour, plus 9 off-tour sites, that featured either in Hammett's life or in his fiction. (Three of Hammett's novels, including "The Maltese Falcon", and most of his short stories were set in San Francisco.) The entries for each site are a combination of biography, literary criticism, and personal experiences. I've read several Hammett biographies, all of his fiction, and some criticism, and Herron was still able to tell me some things I didn't know.
There are black-and-white photos throughout, new and old, so we can see what the sites looked like when Dashiell Hammett lived in the city, 1921-1929. There are a few maps for walking the tour and for driving it. (I assume that the driving maps are different to accommodate one-way streets.) There is an annotated bibliography at the end. Herron says the tour takes 2-3 hours on foot and ½ hour by car. It's also a lot of fun just to read it. My only criticism is that some readers (particularly older readers) may find that the off-white paper does not provide enough contrast with the black ink for comfortable reading. I wondered if there would be much point in reading "The Dashiell Hammett Tour" if I am not in San Francisco, but Don Herron is always insightful, and I enjoyed the virtual tour a great deal.