Tea Tonic and Toxin: Mystery and Thriller Podcast and Book Club

Dashiell Hammett Scholar, Editor, Writer, Public Speaker & Granddaughter Julie Rivett

Joining Sarah and Carolyn on two podcast episodes is Dashiell Hammett scholar, editor, writer, and public speaker Julie Rivett. She also happens to be a granddaughter of Dashiell Hammett. Let’s just say she knows her stuff.

Julie M. Rivett is an advocate for Hammett’s life and literature, a trustee for his estate, and an essayist, editor, and lecturer. Working with Dashiell Hammett biographer Richard Layman, she has edited six books by or about her grandfather, including Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett (2001), Return of The Thin Man (2012), The Hunter and Other Stories (2013), and The Big Book of the Continental Op (2017).

You can find more information about Julie Rivett below!

Julie M. Rivett - Tea Tonic & Toxin Book Club and Podcast

About Julie Rivett

This family photo was taken in 1960 on Martha’s Vineyard Island. Dashiell Hammett is on the left; Julie Rivett is the little girl in the red cardigan. It’s the only time Julie met her grandfather. He died on January 10, 1961. 

Julie M. Rivett brings a unique personal and professional perspective to the study of Dashiell Hammett. She is one of four Hammett grandchildren, a Hammett scholar, and a trustee for the Hammett literary estate. Although her memories of her grandfather stem from a single childhood visit, she has developed an understanding of Hammett that integrates conversations with family and friends, study of Hammett’s public and private writings, and research on his life. 

Working with Hammett biographer Richard Layman, Julie Rivett has co-edited six books by or about her famous grandfather. Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921-1960 and her mother’s memoir Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers, both nominated for Edgar Awards, were released in 2001. Return of the Thin Man, with Hammett’s screen stories for two of the beloved Thin Man film series sequels, was published in 2012.

The Hunter and Other Stories followed in 2013, featuring unpublished and rarely seen Hammett fiction, screen stories, and an unfinished Sam Spade adventure. The Continental Op: The Complete Case Files collected all 28 of Hammett’s Op short stories in ebook in 2016. The complete collection of Continental Op stories, in addition to the original serialized versions of Hammett’s two novels featuring the Continental Op were released in print for the first time in The Big Book of the Continental Op in November of 2017. 

Julie Rivett has lectured and curated exhibits on Hammett and his works for one-city-read-one-book programs, libraries, schools and universities, writers’ groups, book clubs, and literacy organizations across the U.S. Her interviews and essays have been published at home and abroad, helping to maintain her grandfather’s legacy and introduce his writings to new generations. 

When she’s not editing or lecturing, Julie volunteers for arts, literacy, and political organizations and minds her grandchildren. She lives with her husband in Orange County, California, where she raised two daughters and earned degrees in American Studies and Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach. 

In January 2024, Julie Rivett announced that Vintage Books is planning to reissue all five of her grandfather’s novels, each with a fresh introduction by a well-regarded contemporary author.

  • Red Harvest introduced by S.A. Cosby
  • The Dain Curse introduced by Amor Towles
  • The Maltese Falcon introduced by Richard Russo
  • The Glass Key introduced by Laura Lippman
  • The Thin Man introduced by Denise Mina

 

Some Questions for Julie Rivett (check out the podcast to hear her thoughts!):

Your memories of her grandfather stem from a single childhood visit. Can you tell us about it?

Please give us the correct pronunciation of his name. Where did he get his first name?

Please tell us about anything you’d like to set the record straight on concerning your grandfather.

Tell us about the drinking. It’s so pronounced in the books, and the article alluded to it as well: In one letter, Dolan advises him to eat healthy and to “take the cure”—a euphemism at the time for laying off liquor.

In what ways does Hammett most relate to his different detectives? Is there any particular one he most identifies with? Do you have insight about his inspiration?

Tell us about how you explain Hammett’s unique position in the development of American fiction? What do you think of comparisons to the likes of Hemingway?

What role did Hammett play in the early film productions of his work?

\What role do you play in current film conversations?

What stands out to you as the best of the best in terms of films?

Tell us about your own writing, and your contribution to your mother’s memoir.

How did your mother deal with the breakup of the family?

What was your relationship like with Lillian Hellman?

How did the literary trust of Hammett’s work move from being outside the family to being back in it?

Tell us about the following quote: “He was brilliant, but imperfect. He had a family and a sense of humor. He loved children and dogs, and he liked working with his hands and hunting. He was a serious politician, and he was a drunk. In other words, he was a real person.”

Which of Hammett’s books is your personal favorite?

 

Learn More about Julie Rivett!

You can follow the official Facebook page of Julie Rivett here.

Read the Q&A in Publishers Weekly (Oct 05, 2012) here.

Read the interview with Cultural Compass, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin (March 6, 2014) here.

Read the essay in Radio Silence Magazine here.

Read the feature article in Orange Coast Magazine here.

Share Your Thoughts About Our Julie Rivett Podcast Episodes on Dashiell Hammett

Tell us what you think, and we may share your thoughts in our next episode and send you a fabulous sticker! (It really is a pretty awesome sticker.)

About Tea, Tonic & Toxin

Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a book club and podcast for people who love mysteries, thrillers, introspection, and good conversation. Each month, your hosts, Sarah Harrison and Carolyn Daughters, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller from the 19th and 20th centuries. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolved.

Along the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading some of the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.

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