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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon (original 1930; edition 2011)

by Dashiell Hammett

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5,807164732 (3.91)486
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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Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
This is supposed to be a book that helped create and define a genre, but I was completely underwhelmed.

There was so much promise to the book, but I felt in a lot of areas it really fell short. There was certainly a lack in character development and absolutely no suspense or climax to speak of. There was no spark to keep me interested and I only finished it as it was a book club pick. ( )
  NatalieS11 | Sep 29, 2015 |
Sam Spade is one of the most well known private detectives in the genre. I have seen the movie with Humphrey Bogart several times, but this is the first time I've read the book. A beautiful woman comes to Spade's office, looking for help. His partner is murdered, and the cops want to believe he didn't do it. Or do they? Bad guys want something that Spade may or may not be able to deliver. At the center of it all is a valuable black statuette of a bird. The story is fun. The narrator was ok. A few of his voices were over the top.

November 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
Sam Spade is a PI, who is hired by Miss Wonderley to find her sister. His partner Miles Archer is shot while following Floyd Thursby, who supposedly has control over the sister. The police think Sam may have killed Archer. To make matters worse, Sam has been having an affair with Archer's widow. Then Thursby is found dead and Miss Wonderley has checked out of her hotel. She contacts Sam to meet her at her new address under another name. When he arrives, she is evasive, but reveals she has yet another name. Sam doesn't know wether to believe anything she says. Back at his office, the mystery deepens when Joel Cairo asks him to help recover a statuette in the shape of a black bird, then draws a gun on him when they're alone.

This book has been voted as the best mystery by the Mystery Writers of America. The story has many twists and turns. It's a marvel watching Spade trying to stay one step ahead of all the other players. In short, it's a classic story that is hard to beat. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Jun 13, 2015 |
Perhaps the greatest author of the detective genre, Dashiell Hammett gives us Sam Spade at his best. Set in San Francisco during the 1940's, Hammett brings us back to a time long gone.

The plot is relatively simple, but the characters are what make the novel. Spade is mentally sharp, honest in character, and ready to back up his opinion with his fists. Seemingly having ice water in his veins, Spade is ever the cool customer no matter the odds against him. His client, Brigid, is a double-dealing female willing to switch sides at will when the wind changes directions, obviously used to using her good looks and damsel-in-distress act to get her way. Joel Cairo, the stereotypical homosexual, also seems to be in the game only for himself. The wealthy fat man Casper Gutman and his henchman Wilmer represent the evil antagonists.

The plot is developed slowly. Brigid O'shaughnessy drops by Spades office to hire him to tail her supposed boy friend Floyd Thursby. Brigid is not forthcoming with her real name or the real reason for the job. Miles Archer, Sam's partner, agrees to tail Thursby. Later that evening, Spade receives a call saying that Miles had been killed. Spade becomes a suspect because of his affair with Iva Archer, Miles's wife. Iva actually thinks Sam killed Miles so they could be married. Lt. Dundy, obviously at odds with Spade, is out to bury Sam. However, Spade does have friends in the department, most notably Tom Pohaus. The more Sam tries to get information from Brigid, the more she puts him off.

Enter Joel Cairo. He tries to hire Spade to find a statue of a bird, which we discover is the Malttese falcon. Also, Sam is asked to meet with Gutman, who is also looking to get his hands on the statue. Spade finds out that the statue is a jewel encrusted gold statue of a falcon that has been painted with black enamel to disguise it's value. While the others are trying to use Spade as a pawn to get their hands on the valuable artifact, Sam uses his wits to insert himself into the mix to become a major player. The game's afoot, and only the most cunning player will emerge victorious. Two more murders later, all the main players meet in Spade's apartment to see who will come away with the statue.

The story takes place in San Francisco, which is a fairly large city. But Sam Spade shows the professionalism of his craft by knowing people wherever he goes. This is a classic from a bygone era, and one thing I noticed was that all the men wore hats. I doubt that there will ever be a novel that tops "The Maltese Falcon" in the detective genre. ( )
  NPJacobsen | Jun 6, 2015 |
"His eyes burned yellowly."

That's all I need to say. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (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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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.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

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

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