A facsimile reprint of this work's first edition features a mystery that introduces the immortal Sam Spade and a cast of characters that includes the amoral vamp Brigid O'Shaughnessy and the sinister fat man Caspar Gutman.
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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
So, why did I bother reading The Maltese Falcon? Well, like most people I assume, I saw the movie starring Humphrey Bogart, and was hooked. Initially after first seeing the movie I had no idea there was actually a book which it was based off of. Then I noticed it at first on the Barnes and Noble bags, and figured that to be some sort of sign that I should go and read this book. Initially however I just placed it in my reading pile writing it off for the fact that it was just a detective novel, and probably would probably be no where as good as the movie was. So sadly it sat in my room unread for almost 3 months, then one day since I was nearing the bottom of my stack of books waiting to be read I grabbed and decided to just suck it up and read it since I had already spent the money for it. Let me tell you I sat and read almost the entire book that night!
Hammett's style of writing is tight, with all the details, suspense and mystery you're pulled through the entire novel from cover to cover. Spade's character is certainly "rough" and in the book is described as a "blond Satan" and believe me it's easy to see why. I'll spare going into the entire plot for you since it seems just about every other review already has that. But believe me you should definitely read this book, even if Detective stories aren't your thing, you won't be disappointed.Read more ›
Featuring the irrepressible straight-shooter Sam Spade and his unforgettably cunning and sexy female counterpart Brigid O'Shaughnessy, The Maltese Falcon has enough twists and turns to make your head spin. As if these two indelible characters and the super suave dialogue weren't enough, Hammett throws in such incomparable characters as The Fat Man (appropriately named Gutman), the effeminate weasel Joel Cairo, and, of course, the relentlessly maligned Wilmer, or The Undersized Shadow as the chapter is titled.
Despite all of these great characters that complement the story, none shines as brightly as our gruff, cynical, and mercilessly shrewd hero and lady's man, Sam Spade. He means what he says and says what he means - you gotta love it. If you even remotely value fine (and highly entertaining) literature that is a great read even after having seen the equally great movie, then add this to your wish list today.
"By Gad, sir, you are a character!" - Gutman to Spade
Our detective is Sam Spade, a San Francisco private investigator who, with his partner Miles Archer, owns his own agency. Sam's a man in his thirties who has been around, seen every side of the law, and come away unimpressed. He's hardened; he's practical; he only cares that he come out on top of each case he investigates, and richer than when he started. One day a striking woman walks into his office distraught over her younger sister who has run off with a ne'er-do-well. Sam doesn't believe her story, but he believes her money. He takes the case, and his partner Miles is murdered as a result. To make matters worse, Sam is suspected of murdering the man who was suspected of Miles' murder. So he's left with little choice other than to track down his mysterious client and solve both crimes. Sam's trying to extricate himself from this mess only leads him into an ever-widening web of deceit.Read more ›
Sam Spade is described as a blond Satan. His partner is Miles Archer. They are hired to secure the return of a Miss Wonderly's sister. Through the San Francisco PD Spade is called out because his partner is down, his Webley-Fosbery is missing a bullet. Miles Archer was supposed to be tailing Floyd Thursby. Thursby has been shot, too. Spade was involved with Archer's wife. There are, needless to say, complcations.
Spade discovers that Miss Wonderly's name is really Brigid O'Shaughnessy. Soon Brigid is confronted with Spade's observation that she is feeding him rehearsed lines. A man named Flitcraft disappeared from a Tacoma suburb. When Spade found him in Spokane he and his wife divorced quietly. The man changed his life when he was nearly killed on a sidewalk by a falling beam. Brigid is surprised that Sam Spade takes such a high-handed manner with the police.
Brigid claims that she and Floyd Thursby and Joe Cairo were involved in a plot to obtain the black bird, the Maltese falcon. She has not touched it and has only seen it once. It is possible police brutality was the norm in 1929 when THE MALTESE FALCON was written. At any rate, midway through the story, Joe Cairo receives a going over. Brigid is to stay with Spade's secretary, Effie Perrine, because it is feared she is in danger.
The Maltese falcon has to do with tribute paid by the crusaders. The treasured piece ended up in the hands of a Greek dealer. It belongs to either a Russian general or to the King of Spain. It is discovered that Thursby was a bodyguard to a gangster, after all this is prohibition, who had immense gambling debts.Read more ›