Don Herron Gets a Facelift Essay

Well, actually Don’s website got the facelift with a nifty new blog format - Don Herron Gets a Facelift Essay introduction. Under the domain name, the website is titled Up and Down these Mean Streets and the new moniker fits Don and his interests to a “T”.

Since the mid-1970s, with the publication of “Conan vs. Conantics” in TGR #3, Don has been the standard bearer for Howard literary criticism, taking on the old guard and breathing new life into a previously uncharted field. Soon he was contributing to various Howard journals and in 1984 he brought forth a ground breaking volume of Howard lit crit, The Dark Barbarian. Twenty years later, Don followed it up with The Barbaric Triumph, which further cemented his place in the Hall of Fame of Howard Scholars. 

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In addition to his Howard pursuits, Don is known far and wide for his famous Dashiell Hammett tour.  Don has been showing up in front of the Main San Francisco Library with a fedora, a gat and trench coat for more than 33 years now, leading groups of out of towners and locals alike through the mean streets and over the hills of Hammett’s 1920’s San Francisco. The tour is so widely known that it has appeared as a question on Jeopardy, the pinnacle of Pop Culture (Answer: “The city in which Don Herron leads a Dashiell Hammett tour”).

And the tour is not for lightweights, Don begins with a half hour overview before he takes off, leading his charges like so many baby ducks struggling to keep up with their mother.  You’ll need the stamina of a marathon runner to complete the four hour tour, but it is well worth it, with a visit to the apartment where Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon, learn the real-life origins of Maltese Falcon characters, the notorious Burritt Alley, site of the murder of Sam Spade’s partner, and much more.  It is truly a pulp noir tour de force, one that requires sturdy walking shoes and a bottle of water.

Don has written a a Dasheill Hammet tour guidebook for those who can’t make it to San Francisco or want to bone up on the adventure before taking it.  He has also penned a number of books, essays and articles on the subject of detective noir fiction.

Be sure and bookmark Don’s website, and visit often.  I’m sure you will find him engaging and informative – a virtual human encyclopedia. While you may not always agree with Don has to say, you’ll have to admit it is thought provoking and comes straight from the heart.

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