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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
6,038185691 (3.91)503
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. 81
    The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 81
    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Cecilturtle)
  3. 50
    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. 21
    Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (InvisiblerMan)
  6. 00
    Maltese Falcon by Richard J. Anobile (bks1953)
  7. 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.
  8. 12
    The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (benmartin79)
  9. 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.
  10. 02
    Private Midnight by Kris Saknussemm (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Dark detective fiction, both radical for their times.
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» See also 503 mentions

English (174)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (184)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
Never been a big 'mystery' or 'detective' fan; but this comes as always one of those 'highly regarded' 'must reads' of the genre (along with of course Sherlock Holmes). While it was good, and I did enjoy the "LA Crime Noir" like [sub]genre (even if it was San Fran rather than LA), it was ultimately just 'ok' and nothing 'spectacular' or must-readable in my mind. Sam Spade is an interesting and engaging character for the most part, he is a product of his time period in the way he treats women (and homosexuals) and other characters. He was gritty and not the 'over-the-top-never-wrong-super-intelligent-detective'. But he was lacking and never came across as a 'must root for' kind of guy, not even in a sympathetic or interesting way. The novel wraps up rather predictably and quickly and all loose ends get tied up nice and neatly and everyone is swept away sans Spade, which cheapens things (though I definitely didn't want to see a romantic ending with Brigid/Spade). ( )
  BenKline | Apr 21, 2016 |
Sam the detective, X the sniveling Chinese guy. People are after this Maltese Falcon. There is double-crossing. Gasps are heard. The reader is satisfied at the end. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Very good but not my favorite type of reading. ( )
  dogear360 | Feb 20, 2016 |
The Maltese Falcon is the original hard-boiled detective novel, set in the late 1920s San Francisco. The story takes place over a six-day period. Tough, independent detective, Samuel Spade is hired by the mysterious "Miss Wonderly," to track down her sister. The adventure then ensues. Spade's partner is murdered on a stakeout; the cops blame him for the killing; Ms. Wonderly / Ms. O'Shaughnessy causes him much pain and a little pleasure story; grotesque villains (including the original fat man) 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? I found this novel a quick fun read, though it is definitely of its time in terms of language and its treatment of women. Though I enjoyed the Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade—I think I found Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe and Farewell My Lovely (written a few years later) a better detective novel. 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Feb 11, 2016 |
The Maltese Falcon was originally published in 1930 and is still going strong with my Random House edition having a publication date in 2010.

I can easily see why this book has stood the test of time. Not only is it a great mystery with the most fantastic characters, but the language is easy, but at the same time in no way common. In fact, it is the language that appeals to me above all else as it captures the time and class (or lack there of) of the setting. I can't help being in love with the smooth talking, flippant, main character, Spade. He used phrases like "red haired dandy" in reference to his new client, and "give me some dope" when asking for information to solve his case.

There is a huge cast of characters, but they all have such an over exaggerated personality (a very good thing in this situation) that it is simple to keep them sorted out.

The Maltese Falcon is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and the most fun of all books that I have come across from the list thus far. If you are reading from the list and are looking for a break from more serious subject matter or are trying to avoid archaic language in classic literature, this is a good book to pick up. ( )
  StephLaymon | Feb 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
La audaz mezcla de realismo descarnado y sentimientos románticos, habitual en la narativa de DASHIELL HAMMETT (1894-1961), alcanza en EL HALCÓN MALTÉS (1930) su mejor plasmación. Una estatuilla con figura de halcón que los caballeros de la Orden de Malta regalaron al emperador Carlos V en 1530 ha sido objeto, durante más de cuatro siglos, de robos y extravíos. Cuando, tras mil peripecias, llega a la ciudad de San Francisco, un grupo de delincuentes trata de apoderarse de ella, lo que da lugar a conflictos, asesinatos y pasiones esacerbadas. A ello contribuye el detective Sam Spade mediante el empleo de la violencia más cruda y la creación de situaciones arriesgadas e imprevisibles, aunque siempre esclarecedoras. Basada en esta obra John Huston realizó en 1941 una magistral película protagonizada por Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor y Peter Lorre.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hammett, Dashiellprimary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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