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The Maltese Falcon (1930)

by Dashiell Hammett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,854245813 (3.88)618
A treasure worth killing for Sam Spade, a slightly shop-worn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, a perfumed grifter named Joel Cairo, a fat man named Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.… (more)
  1. 80
    The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (InvisiblerMan)
  2. 81
    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Cecilturtle, TAir)
  3. 50
    Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (caflores)
  4. 10
    Spade & Archer by Joe Gores (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Later prequel by another author
  5. 10
    Maltese Falcon [Picador Film Classics Library] by Richard J. Anobile (bks1953)
  6. 21
    Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (InvisiblerMan)
  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
    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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» See also 618 mentions

English (229)  Spanish (5)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (240)
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
I wasn't expecting this to be bad - after all, it's only the most famous noir novel of all time - but I really wasn't expecting it to be this good. It's got an intriguing MacGuffin, the archetypal femme fatale, loads of interesting minor characters, a good plot, great writing, and although the protagonist is maybe a little too much of a badass to be plausible (whatever plausibility is worth in a noir novel), he's definitely a badass. I've seen some of the film version and liked it, I definitely need to go back and watch the whole thing, even if only to see how they handled the final scene, which is a masterpiece of psychological move and countermove. I know Hammett's other novels aren't as highly regarded as this, and I can't say I'm going to rush out and pursue them, but this book is one of the greatest examples of how to really use the "show, don't tell" rule well. Deserves every bit of its fame. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
This was a fun novel. The narrator was good. ( )
  A2Seamster | Apr 9, 2021 |
Ein Klassiker, ohne Zweifel, sollte man sicher gelesen haben. Vielleicht liegts am Alter, vielleicht liegts an der Übersetzung: nicht alles ist aus heutiger Sicht verständlich, manches wirkt etwas betulich, aber Scheiß drauf, hat trotzdem Spaß gemacht. ( )
  MrKillick-Read | Apr 4, 2021 |
I enjoyed this one because it's so weird lol. Is it supposed to be suspenseful or some type of comedy? *Shrugs* ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Feb 17, 2021 |
Not really a bad book, but not really a great book either. The core mystery fails to intrigue, and Hammett's writing just doesn't do anything for me. At least it was short, I guess? ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
[I]t would not surprise us one whit if Mr. Hammett should turn out to be the Great American Mystery Writer. . . . In short, "The Maltese Falcon" is the best one, outside the . . . polite classes, in Lord knows when.
added by NinieB | editNew York Herald Tribune, Will Cuppy (Feb 23, 1930)
 
If the locution "hard-boiled" had not already been coined it would be necessary to coin it now to describe the characters . . . .
added by NinieB | editNew York Times (Feb 23, 1930)
 

» Add other authors (169 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dashiell Hammettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, RaymondCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Jose
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?"
‘Who killed Thursby?’

Spade said: ‘I don’t know.’

Bryan rubbed his black eyeglass-ribbon between thumb and fingers and said knowingly: ‘Perhaps you don’t, but you certainly could make an excellent guess.’

‘Maybe, but I wouldn’t.’

The District Attorney raised his eyebrows.

‘I wouldn’t,’ Spade repeated. He was serene. ‘My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs Spade didn’t raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a District Attorney, an Assistant District Attorney, and a stenographer.’

‘Why shouldn’t you, if you’ve nothing to conceal?’

‘Everybody,’ Spade responded mildly, ‘has something to conceal.’

‘And you have – ?’

‘My guesses, for one thing.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

A treasure worth killing for Sam Spade, a slightly shop-worn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, a perfumed grifter named Joel Cairo, a fat man named Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Yes, I'm guilty, but
I'll get free with female wiles.
Whoops, need a Plan B.

(Carnophile)

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