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    Dashiell Hammett. $106,000 Blood Money. [New York]: Lawrence E. Spivak, Publisher, [no date but 1943]. First edition, paperback original, Bestseller Mystery B40, combining "The Big Knockover" and "$106,000 Blood Money" into a single novel; association copy, inscribed by the author for Lillian Hellman on the copyright page: "To Lillian - on the occasion / of one of her birthdays / Dashiell (nothing is too good for the / little woman) Hammett / June 20, 1943," just five days after publication. Digest size; octavo in sixteens (7.5 x 5.5 inches; 190 x 137 mm.). 126, [1, ad], [1, blank] pages. Publisher's perfect binding in the original printed deep reddish-orange wrappers; all edges of the text block trimmed. Spine gently leaning, with some light creasing; joints lightly worn and barely starting at the edges; wrappers lightly creased along the joints; trace edgewear. Fore-edge of the final leaf very lightly worn, with two tiny closed tears with a vertical crease between them. Near fine. Housed in a custom clamshell case by the Dragonfly Bindery. Both stories originally appeared in Black Mask in 1927, "The Big Knockover" in February and "$106,000 Blood Money" in May. Layman A9.1. From the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction.

    Lillian Hellman was an accomplished playwright, responsible for The Little Foxes and The Autumn Garden, among other plays. She met Hammett while working as a script reader for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1930 ("Biographical Sketch," Lillian Hellman Papers, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas). Soon after, they began a romantic relationship that would last until his death in 1961. She wrote "Dashiell Hammett: A Memoir," which was published in the November 25, 1965, issue of The New York Review of Books, later appearing as the introduction for Hammett's The Big Knockover, a posthumously published collection of stories and short novels (New York: 1966, containing both titles in this collection). In it, she calls Hammett "my closest, my most beloved friend." Hers is certainly among the most desirable of Hammett's associations, but it seems few of her copies have surfaced over the years; Maurice Neville had two in his collection, The Thin Man (the dedication copy) and a fifth printing of The Maltese Falcon, both sold in Part II of his Modern Literature sale in November 2004 at Sotheby's. We were unable to locate any others.

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    Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion2 East 79th StreetNew York, NY 10075

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