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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
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The Maltese Falcon (original 1930; edition 2011)

by Dashiell Hammett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,655155755 (3.9)462
Member:stgemma
Title:The Maltese Falcon
Authors:Dashiell Hammett
Info:Thinking Ink Media (2011), Paperback, 200 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:books I own, read for school, crime, detective, mystery

Work details

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)

  1. 70
    The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 51
    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Cecilturtle)
  3. 30
    Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (caflores)
  4. 10
    Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan (BookGirlVL)
    BookGirlVL: A recent addition to the hardboiled US scene. The protagonist befriends the publisher of a mystery magazine called Grey Streets, which prints hardboiled short stories.
  5. 11
    The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: The two detectives have a key trait in common: dogged pursuit of the truth and the truth has many twists along the way.
  6. 00
    Maltese Falcon by Richard J. Anobile (bks1953)
  7. 11
    Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (InvisiblerMan)
  8. 12
    Britten and Brülightly by Hannah Berry (lucien)
    lucien: A great modern take on the noir genre in comic form. Berry is successful at both weaving a solid noir tale and having some good fun with genre conventions.
  9. 12
    The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (benmartin79)
  10. 02
    Private Midnight by Kris Saknussemm (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Dark detective fiction, both radical for their times.
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English (147)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
This is my first Dashiell Hammett book. It was good, but didn't knock my socks off. The ending made up for a lot of flailing throughout the story.

Spade is a bit too hard edged for my taste. And the colloquialisms of the time left me saying "huh?" quite a bit, which may have prevented me from being able to fully appreciate it. I'll definitely try another one down the line. ( )
  grandpahobo | Mar 22, 2015 |
This mystery novel, generally considered to be Dashiell Hammett's finest work, appeared in serial form in Black Mask magazine in 1929 and was published as a novel the following year. Some critics have said that the Biblical invocation "The love of money is the root of all evil" sums up Falcon's theme.
Detective Sam Spade's partner Archer is hot on a case, and as his partner, Spade must find the killer. The investigation becomes enmeshed ( )
  Tutter | Feb 27, 2015 |
A true classic, one of the great early novels of the hard-boiled American gumshoe, I was reminded while reading it of the apocryphal story of the English student who complained while first reading Shakespeare, "It's full of cliches!" If the style here seems cliched, it's because Hammett set the style. The Bogart movie, of course, had long been a favorite of mine, but Hammett's descriptions are textured enough that I was soon picturing Sam Spade as described by Hammett, not as he appeared on the silver screen. Actually, the events and most of the great lines of the book and movie are remarkably true to each other, with the exception of that great closing line uttered by Bogart in the movie (if you've seen it, you know the line). Also, in the book, Joel Cairo and Wilmer are lovers, which was apparently too daring for the movie audiences of the time. I'm surprised it was handled so matter-of-factly in the novel. ( )
  burnit99 | Jan 27, 2015 |
I bought this book at Goodwill a few years ago and it has wallowed in my massive to-read pile. I had seen the movie but some twenty years ago and didn't remember anything specific.

I've only read noir fiction in its modern urban fantasy form, so it was enlightening to read a classic. It surprised me. First of all, it's a fast read and a short book--about 200 pages. It's a thriller in the purest sense, with constant action and deft twists and turns. I pride myself on predicting what will happen in most books, but here, I was constantly surprised. It is very much a book of its time period. Sam Spade is a macho man if ever there was one. There's sex and adultery--I didn't expect that raciness--and some clever dialogue that alludes to the f-word.

The dialogue is what really makes this. Going beyond Sam's noir schtick, the dialogue sounds REAL (and maybe in the '30s, before it became such a trope, his dialogue had more truth as well). This came across to me last night when I pulled up some movie clips on You Tube. The Humphrey Bogart picture is very loyal to the book, down to exact dialogue. It works phenomenally well.

I'm glad to have read the book. It has a BookCrossing.com label in it, and I intend to return the book to Goodwill so its journey can continue. ( )
  ladycato | Jan 24, 2015 |
Beautiful copy of seminal hard-boiled detective story, with period illustrations and endmaps. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dashiell Hammettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.
Quotations
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?"
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Yes, I'm guilty, but
I'll get free with female wiles.
Whoops, need a Plan B.

(Carnophile)

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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

» see all 21 descriptions

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