Black Man Secretly Helped Great Crime Writers
Ever noticed the character names Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe in crime fiction? The names Sam and Marlowe was a code for Samuel Marlowe who was a real black private detective and a source for Chandler and Hammett.
‘…Marlowe, she said, was the city’s first licensed black private detective. He shadowed lives, took care of secrets, knew his way around Tinseltown. Ransil dropped the names of some Hollywood heavies — Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Howard Hughes.
‘But it got better. Marlowe knew hard-boiled writers Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, she said.
‘The private eye had written them after reading their early stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask to say their fictional gumshoes were doing it all wrong. They began writing regularly, or so her story went. The authors relied on Marlowe for writing advice, and in the case of Chandler, some…
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