The Maltese Falcon BY Hammett, Dashiell

Hammett served " an Army sergeant in World War II. Althougha fierce opponent of Nazism, he joined the American Communist Party in the 1930s. Although he did not accompany Hemingway and other writers to Spain in 1936 to participate in the Civil War, he did assist returning veterans. By 1934 after publishing The Thin Man, his writing career nearly ended. During these years, he began a tumultuous relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman (The Children's Hour, 1934 Little Foxes, 1939). Hellman was a devoted leftist and the couple concerned themselves with radical causes. The political pendulum took a conservative swing after WWII, and Hammett was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. When he refused to testify, inspite of his faithful military service and failing health, he was sentenced to prison for several months. His excellent detective novels were banned by the State Department. Hellman, also ordered to testify, assailed the HUAAC and was blacklisted. Hammett never wrote another novel, although he created a comicstrip entitled Secret Agent X-9, an endeavor that proved fruitless."(from:Patti Jo King, a Historian and Journalist, 11/30/2005)