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From him Hammett learned a combination of insight, self-protection, policy, and survivor morality that allowed him to do his work well, with as little emotional and physical risk as possible.
Key to Wright's code, writes Layman, were anonymity, morality and objectivity: A good detective must be anonymous, because the less known about him,the less his chances are of having personal information used against him.
"An enigmatic want-ad took me into the employ of the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency," he wrote, "and I stuck at that until early in 1922." 5 His family was relieved, for the Pinkertons were thought an antidote for delinquency, much as the Marines are today.
When he was fired, Hammett created his first story: he had been late every day for a week, until the boss confronted him.The nature of the work – staking out houses, trailing suspects, often for weeks, reading files and writing reports – required great self-discipline.An agent who could not sit quietly to watch or listen, who could not tail unnoticed all day, was fired.The relationship between Hammett and his mother intensified when he became the family's sole bread-winner, and he often declared "that he would never treat a woman the way his father treated his mother." 2 Trapped by the petty tyrannies of an ill, vain, Southern husband, Annie Hammett was nonetheless too proud to feel sorry for herself.If you can't hold a marriage together with love, she told neighbors, do it with sex.