When I walk downtown to the Mechanics Institute Library I go right by this apartment building. The brass plaque by the entrance tells the passerby that Dashiell Hammett lived here from 1926 to 1929 during which time he wrote Red October, The Dain Curse, and The Maltese Falcon.
It also says he occupied the apartment on the top floor at the northwest corner of the building. That would be the corner you are looking at in this photo. So you can see the windows he looked out of while trying to think of which word to use in whatever sentence he was writing at the moment.
I've inhaled my share of private-eye novels, and I'm aware that Hammett pretty well defined the American version of that genre. But I haven't read everything he wrote, so I hardly qualify as a fan. Believe me, there are folks in town who can recite the years in which the various editions of his novels were published.
But one of my all-time favorite novels was written by Hammett: The Thin Man. I'll admit I was introduced to it by the marvelous film version starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The novel is much darker than the film. I imagine it ranks pretty low with hard-core Hammett fans because it's about an amateur sleuth, but that's why I like it.
So, yes, I think it's cool to walk on the sidewalk where Hammett came and went everyday for a few years, during which, I imagine, he thought of himself as a guy trying to tell a story someone would want to read. Maybe that gives us something in common.
And, by the way, if you come to town, I'll tell you where you can see his typewriter on display.