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The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, Red Harvest Hardcover – Dec 5 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library; First Edition edition (Dec 5 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375411259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375411250
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.7 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 739 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The three classic novels published here in one volume are rich with the crisp prose, subtle characters, and intricate plots that made Dashiell Hammett one of the most admired writers of the twentieth century.
A one-time detective and a master of deft understatement, Hammett virtually invented the hard-boiled crime novel. In "THE MALTESE FALCON, Sam Spade, a private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, tangles with a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. "THE THIN MAN introduces Hammett's wittiest creations, Nick and Nora Charles, who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. And in "RED HARVEST, Hammett's anonymous tough-guy detective, the Continental Op, takes on the entire town of Poisonville in a deadly war against corruption.

About the Author

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter—messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health. When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians. Hammett’s later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story “Tulip,” which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the “Op,” a nameless detective (or “operative”) who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold—a bit like Hammett himself.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although several of his novels have considerable merit, Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) will be best remembered for a single work: THE MALTESE FALCON.
Perhaps the single most extraordinary thing about the novel is its radical departure from the norm. In the 1920s and early 1930s, detective novels were not really considered "literary;" they were light entertainment, and they generally came in two varieties: pure pulp, which was more akin to action-adventure, and "the master detective" as created by such authors as Agatha Christie. In one fell swoop, however, Hammett not only fused these two ideas but also endowed his novel with tremendous literary style--more than enough to catch the eye of "serious" critics and more than enough to stand the test of time.
THE MALTESE FALCON is not a long novel, but Hammett packs a lot into it. The plot, which generally concerns the theft of a priceless, jewel-encrusted statue, walks a fine line between pulp mythology and modern pragmatism, never veering too far in either direction to seem impossible; the prose is lean and clean and packed with detail conveyed both simply and sharply; the characters stand out in a sort of high relief on the page. It is all memorable stuff.
It is difficult to discuss THE MALTESE FALCON without reference to the famous 1941 film version starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. The film has been both a blessing and a curse, so famous that it has drawn thousands of readers to the novel, but so widely seen that it can become difficult to read the novel without seeing it through the lens of the film. But while the film presents the plot and much of Hammett's dialogue intact, readers will find the novel has somewhat different strengths--not the least of which is Hammett's prose itself. An essential of 20th Century American literature; strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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To be honest before I read this book I had never even heard of Dashiell Hammett. If I had heard of him I probably would have completely ignored his books due to the fact I usually can't stand Detective stories. So with only a thought as to the fact he has an interesting name I would have simply written him off as just another author in a genre which I usually never venture into.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Dashiell Hammett not only writes an amazing detective novel with the utmost suspense but also writes amazingly well -- detective novel or not. Perhaps he is undervalued in the scheme of things as far as his vast influence over the genre as a whole. Of late, however, he has received the credit he duly deserves since The Maltese Falcon is ranked as the #56 novel of the 20th Century by the Modern Library.
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
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"The Maltese Falcon" is one of Dashiell Hammett's most popular novels and one of his best. It originally appeared in serial form in "Black Mask" magazine, 1929-1930. The stories in Hammett's novels are typically a mite uninteresting and the characters a little underwritten. Readers don't complain, because story and characters were never the point. They are the vehicle for Hammett's delicious hard-boiled language and biting social commentaries. Published in 1930, "The Maltese Falcon" is a noir masterpiece that offers the best of both worlds. It's full of the blunt talk and pervasive cynicism that typify the genre. But "The Maltese Falcon" also gives us an intricate story and better-drawn characters than is customary in Hammett's work, and it's his sexiest novel as well.
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.
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