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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
6,241193649 (3.92)518
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 Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Cecilturtle)
  2. 81
    The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (InvisiblerMan)
  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
    Spade & Archer by Joe Gores (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Later prequel by another author
  7. 00
    Maltese Falcon by Richard J. Anobile (bks1953)
  8. 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.
  9. 12
    The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (benmartin79)
  10. 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.
  11. 02
    Private Midnight by Kris Saknussemm (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Dark detective fiction, both radical for their times.
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» See also 518 mentions

English (181)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  English (191)
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
A wonderful crime novel from the 30's. I've wanted to read this novel for many years now and finally got around to it and I am so glad that I did. I am a huge fan of noir films and this novel really made me think of that. Vivid story line with clear and interesting prose. Full of poignant imagery and great plot twists. ( )
  JessBass87 | Dec 2, 2016 |
A fast-paced melodrama with gritty men and deceptive dames, polished wisecracks and affected pokerfaces, Bacardi and cigarettes, pouring and drinking, rolling and smoking, long monologues and quick banter, psychological warfares and physical roughhousing, this grandfather of hardboiled noir has it all, even the less savoury period casual sexism and heavy homophobic stereotypes. Best read as the starter to the hardboiled noir genre. ( )
  kitzyl | Nov 26, 2016 |
I enjoyed the movie (where Humphrey Bogart played an excellent Sam spade) more than the book. I guess I just don't like super "hard-boiled dicks" with an excessively cold demeanor and zero conscience (i.e., the nowadays considered unfashionable power to differentiate right from wrong). I read several critics' reviews in other websites stating that Hammett had a "Hemingwayesque" style; while I am not a literary critic, I found nothing in his prose to compare to Hemingway's. Hammett uses a lot of minutely detailed descriptions of what each character in each scene is doing, every little blink is recorded. It can get a bit tiresome after a while. But it is a good book, nevertheless. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
I once read the following in some TV guide regarding the classic movie adaptation: “The 1941 mystery is the yardstick against which all private-eye films are measured.” It is even more true of the novel. Never before (or since) has a protagonist been forced to look so deeply within himself, to have to explain who he is to so many while not completely understanding why he is that way himself. Sam Spade knows what he has to do, and extensively he knows why he has to do it. He acts assuredly, without hesitation. Yet there is a deeper part of himself that is merely along for the ride, as if some of his decisions were never really decisions at all. He has led a life with more than a few amoral choices but when confronted with what should be the easiest of shortcuts, he discovers he has a moral core that cannot be so easily overruled. An array of fascinating characters and the explanation and solution to several murders become side issues once all the lies are exposed. THE masterpiece. ( )
  JohnWCuluris | Jun 10, 2016 |
The Maltese Falcon is a decent crime novel but, alas, it is another of those 'classics' which is to be respected for its influence rather than enjoyed for its content. The plot is rather restless and whilst this serves well in the 1941 Humphrey Bogart film adaptation – highly recommended, even if just for its style – it is harder to follow on the page. This fast pace is set against Hammett often getting bogged down in descriptive prose – telling us details about all the physical features of his characters and how they're dressed, even all the ordinary stuff they're doing like rolling cigarettes – meaning we have a fast-slow-fast-slow development of the plot which made for a rather queasy ride.

Elsewhere, the sexism is rather glaring to modern standards and the protagonist Sam Spade lacks a lot of the charisma that Bogie would later imbue him with. As a detective story, The Maltese Falcon is also rather unorthodox in that Spade doesn't really do much active detective work. As he says on page 83: My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery. It's all right with me, if you're sure none of the flying pieces will hurt you." Consequently, a lot of the book is just Spade being abrasive with various players and coming out at the end a little bruised but essentially none the worse for wear. It made me less invested in the story as I thought Spade a rather passive character who did little to shape the progress and outcome of the plot.

The film adaptation is also extremely faithful to the book in its dialogue and its plot details, so there's little to be gained from experiencing both. Having nonetheless done so, I find that the film is far superior to the book. Whilst I will remember much about the film (and, as it was Bogie's first leading role, it has historical merit too), I think the book will prove to be quickly forgettable." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (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
 

» Add other authors (75 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hammett, Dashiellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, RaymondCover artistsecondary 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?"
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(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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