Vince Emery Productions banner movie prop Maltese Falcon
Richard Layman's
Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade
nominated for Edgar Award

Mystery Writers of America nominate acclaimed volume for prestigious award as Best Critical/Biographical book of the year

San Francisco, Calif. - 30 Jan., 2006 - The critically-praised book Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade, edited by Richard Layman, has been nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar Award—the mystery field's most prestigious award—as the Best Critical/Biographical book of the year.

"A treasure beyond price for fans of both the classic Hammett novel and the three (that's right, three) film versions of the doomed quest for a black bird," writes Kenneth Turan in The Los Angeles Times. "An incredible amalgam of photos, memos, letters, reviews, whatever, this will make fans of the book or the film gasp as one unexpected delight succeeds another. With this book, wonders really do never cease."

"Richard Layman put a heroic effort into the creation of Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade, and I am glad that his work has been recognized," said Vince Emery, the book's publisher. "The Edgar Award is one of the most influential literary awards in the world, so I am sure this nomination will expose Mr. Layman's delightful book to a wider audience."

The result of a lifetime of research by Hammett expert Layman, Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade provides hundreds of surprises about the novel, its author, and its film versions, such as:

  • For rights to the now-famous novel (which has sold more than 4.5 million copies in English alone), publisher Alfred A. Knopf paid author Hammett an advance of nothing.
  • The sculptor who created the legendary statuette of the black bird for the 1941 Humphrey Bogart movie may have been an accomplice of the Black Dahlia murderer and the killer of author James Ellroy's mother.
  • Working notes (printed here for the first time) for The Secret Emperor, Hammett's first, never-finished novel, show that it included elements he later used in The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key.
Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade is packed with fascinating facts, and provides hundreds of never-before-published photos, illustrations, documents, and original source materials, including production notes for the three movie versions. Contributors include Dashiell Hammett himself, plus Jo Hammett, Richard Layman, Joseph Shaw, Mary Astor, Dorothy Parker, Hal Wallis, John Huston, Joe Gores, William F. Nolan, and more than fifty additional writers.

About Richard Layman
Richard Layman, the editor of Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade, has written six books on Dashiell Hammett, including Literary Masterpieces: The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett: A Descriptive Bibliography, and Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett. He was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for editing Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett, 1921-1960. He is vice president of Bruccoli Clark Layman Inc., which produces reference works in literary and social history, including the Dictionary of Literary Biography. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.
More about Richard Layman

About the Edgar Awards
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards are the most prestigious and sought-after awards in the mystery field. The 2006 Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, television, and film from 2005, will be presented to the winners at the Mystery Writers of America's 60th Gala Banquet on April 27, 2006 in New York City. A complete list of 2006 Edgar Award nominees is available at the organization's website:

Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade: The Evolution of Dashiell Hammett's Classic Novel, Including John Huston's Movie with Humphrey Bogart edited by Richard Layman
Publication date: September 7, 2005. Publisher: Vince Emery Productions
Trade paperback; $19.95 U.S./$26.95 Canada; 376 pages; ISBN 0-9725898-6-4

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