15 Hammett stories discovered

This just in from Andrew Gulli, managing editor of the Strand quarterly magazine:

"I was doing research in the Dashiell Hammett archives at the Ransom Library at the University of Texas. I managed to find 15 Hammett short stories that have never been published. A lot of times, unpublished stories by well-known writers aren't very good, but these are gems."

The Hammett estate gave Gulli permission to publish one of the stories but turned down the idea of compiling all 15 into a book.

The one that appears in Strand, "So I Shot Him," is about two men who make a bet with each other — with tragic consequences.

"A lot of the story is about fear, yet the ending is open-ended to the point where you're asking yourself if a crime was really committed," Gulli said. One of the most telling lines: "Courage isn't a damn thing but a habit of not dodging things because you're afraid of them."

Hammett's best-known creations were hard-boiled detective Sam Spade ("The Maltese Falcon") and Nick and Nora Charles of "The Thin Man."

Mystery writer Fluke to appear in Wichita

Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swensen mystery series, will be in Wichita on Friday to read and sign books. She will appear at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at Bradley Fair, 1920 N. Rock Road.

Fluke's latest book, " Devil's Food Cake Murder," (Kensington, 304 pages, $24) is the 14th in her foodie series, which features recipes in addition to the story.

Poet Anita Skeen to read, sign books

Poet Anita Skeen will be in Wichita on Friday to read from her latest book of poetry, "Never the Whole Story" (Michigan State University Press, 163 pages, $16.95). Skeen, director of the Center for Poetry at Michigan State University, will appear at 7 p.m. at Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas.

A new collection from Kansas poet Holden

Jonathan Holden, who served as Kansas' first poet laureate, will soon release a new collection of poems titled " Glamour" (Mammoth Publications, 70 pages, $12). Called "one of our most intelligent poets" by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Holden explores family, art, history, and even geometry in these poems, many of which center on the death of his father.