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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon (original 1930; edition 2011)

by Dashiell Hammett

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5,489151790 (3.9)439
Title:The Maltese Falcon
Authors:Dashiell Hammett
Info:Thinking Ink Media (2011), Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:books I own, read for school, crime, detective, mystery

Work details

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)

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English (141)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed reading Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon." I had already seen the movie so the plot wasn't exactly a surprise-- but the overall tone and pacing of the book that it is fun to read.

Detective Sam Spade is in his office when the pretty Miss Wonderly comes marching in with a problem that needs solving. Spade's partner ends up dead and he becomes mixed up with criminals on the hunt for the mysterious falcon.

This is the novel that was responsible for launching the era of the hard-boiled detective, whose eye for detail helps him solve crimes and have his way with the ladies. I can see why others took the idea and ran with it -- this novel is really great. ( )
  amerynth | Oct 19, 2014 |
Hardboiled San Francisco detective Sam Spade is approached by a mysterious female who asks him to find her sister, which instead turns into the hunt for a valuable statue. I saw the 1941 movie in college as an illustration of noir film and an example of MacGuffin usage and while I am a fan of the film (let's be honest, Bogart could do magic), the book falls a short for me, mainly because I don't like Spade and I think that's a prerequisite if you want to "get" the humor. Perhaps I've read too much modern noir to go along with the silly dames and the macho males. As a sample of its genre it's spot on and I can appreciate it for that, but as an enjoyable read it's not a major hit, unfortunately. ( )
  -Eva- | Aug 1, 2014 |
I really want to like this book because it was highly recommended by other mystery writers. The writing was good and it was written in another era. But I just don't like Sam Spade.


I don't like how he had an affair with his partner's wife. And when his partner's wife became "available," he tried to dodge her. ( )
  annertan | Jul 31, 2014 |
When a beautiful woman shows up in the office of private detective Sam Spade and his partner asking for a tail on a man, it leads to the death of Spade's partner as well as the man he was tailing. Everyone seems to think Spade knows more than he does about the deaths and a mysterious object, and Spade tries not to change their perception while discovering as much as he can about the mystery. I had seen the film several times, but this is the first time I've read the book. Spade can hold his own in a fight, but he has more than physical strength going for him. It's a shame that Hammett didn't write more novels featuring this intelligent, quick thinking, and quick talking private eye. The mystery has a strong sense of place in San Francisco, and it's difficult to imagine the action taking place anywhere else. I have all of Hammett's novels in a collected edition and I look forward to reading the rest at some point in the future. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jul 20, 2014 |
This novel is a classic from 1929. The detective is Sam Spade located in San Francisco and one of the first hard-boil detective genre. Spade and his partner are hired by a woman and soon his partner is dead. This woman isn't telling the truth, uses her feminine whiles to get her way and Sam has to dig for the clues to who murdered his partner and why. Of course it all involves the Maltese Falcon. It's a quick read. I liked it much better than The Thin Man. This book is one of the 100 best on the Modern Library list. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dashiell Hammettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.
The boy spoke two words, the first a short guttural verb, the second 'you'.
"People lose teeth talking like that." Spade's voice was still amiable though his face had become wooden. "If you want to hang around you'll be polite."
The boy repeated his two words.
Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face. Then Spade smiled. The smile was gentle, even dreamy. His right shoulder raised a few inches. His bent right arm was driven up by the shoulder's lift. Fist, wrist, forearm, crooked elbow, and upper arm seemed all one rigid piece, with only the limber shoulder giving them motion. The fist struck Cairo's face...
"I don't know where that damned bird is. You don't. She does. How in hell are we going to get it if I don't play along with her?"
Cairo hesitated, said dubiously: "You have always, I must say, a smooth explanation ready."
Spade scowled. "What do you want me to do? Learn to stutter?"
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Haiku summary
Yes, I'm guilty, but
I'll get free with female wiles.
Whoops, need a Plan B.


Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679722645, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:04 -0400)

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A murder involves Sam Spade in a dangerous search for a valuable statue.

(summary from another edition)

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