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Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett's archetypally tough San Francisco detective, is more noir than L.A. Confidential and more vulnerable than Raymond Chandler's Marlowe. In The Maltese Falcon, the best known of Hammett's Sam Spade novels (including The Dain Curse and The Glass Key), Spade is tough enough to bluff the toughest thugs and hold off the police, risking his reputation when a beautiful woman begs for his help, while knowing that betrayal may deal him a new hand in the next moment.
Spade's partner is murdered on a stakeout; the cops blame him for the killing; a beautiful redhead with a heartbreaking story appears and disappears; grotesque villains demand a payoff he can't provide; and everyone wants a fabulously valuable gold statuette of a falcon, created as tribute for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Who has it? And what will it take to get it back? Spade's solution is as complicated as the motives of the seekers assembled in his hotel room, but the truth can be a cold comfort indeed.
Spade is bigger (and blonder) in the book than in the movie, and his Mephistophelean countenance is by turns seductive and volcanic. Sam knows how to fight, whom to call, how to rifle drawers and secrets without leaving a trace, and just the right way to call a woman "Angel" and convince her that she is. He is the quintessence of intelligent cool, with a wise guy's perfect pitch. If you only know the movie, read the book. If you're riveted by Chinatown or wonder where Robert B. Parker's Spenser gets his comebacks, read the master. --Barbara Schlieper
“Dashiell Hammett . . . is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer.” –The Boston Globe
“The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel.” –The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Hammett’s prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction.” –The New York Times
I'm normally a sci-fi/fantasy guy but I wanted to check out some noir type detective stories. I ended up really enjoying this one. Read morePublished 1 day ago by S. Graham
Loved the old timeyness of this book. Also loved that spade couldn't be bought. Tough and gritty spade really made this enjoyablePublished 3 days ago by Thomas Shappell
I loved this book!! I saw the movie before I read the book!! Glad I did!! I can appreciate it so much more!!!Published 14 days ago by Tiffany S Campbell
I've seen the movie many times and loved the snappy dialogue. The book was just as good. Really good books are eternal.Published 17 days ago by elmocook
Holy crap, if people were really this stupid in the early 20th century it's surprising the human race has developed to the level it is in now. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Todd K.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well this has held up. Apart from a very few word meaning shifts, it's perfectly comprehensible and interesting to a modern reader. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Rhonda
Wasn't sure about the book until I got into it and the ending was just soooo good!!!! Definitely recommend to mystery lovers.Published 24 days ago by Daniel Talkington