Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy birthday, Dashiell Hammett and Tony Hillerman.

Two major mystery birthdays to celebrate today: Dashiell Hammett would have turned 113 (he died in 1961), and gentlemanly Oklahoman Tony Hillerman turns 82.

In light of tomorrow's Memorial Day, we should remember that Hammett served in both World War I (as an ambulance driver, until he contracted tuberculosis) and World War II and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery; and Hillerman earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart during his army service in World War II. Hillerman talks about his time in the army and his career as journalist and mystery author in his fine memoir Seldom Disappointed.

Go here for a Webcast of a Library of Congress lecture by Richard Layman, a trustee of the Hammett estate and author of Shadow Man, on the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon; and here is a Webcast from the 2002 National Book Festival with Hillerman.

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