Dashiell Hammett, JFK and ‘the fall guy’
Bill Kelly passed along the photo of Oswald under arrest at the Texas Theater along with a revealing quote from Dashiell Hammett, the 20th century American writer who specialized in hard-boiled detective fiction.
Within 24 hours of his arrest, Oswald had shouted to reporters that he was “a patsy,” and everyone knew what he meant. He was claiming to be “a fall guy,” an innocent set up to take the blame for the deeds of others.
How did Americans know about the concept? As Kelly notes, Chapter 14 of Hammett’s classic detective tale, The Maltese Falcon, is called “The Fall Guy.” In it, detective Sam Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart in the movie version) explains: …