Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
Sam Spade is a private investigator operating in the seedy underbelly of early 20th-century San Francisco. His clients are usually shady types who don’t want to get mixed up with the police, so he knows right away that the beautiful Miss Wonderly, who comes into his office with a sob story about a missing sister, is trouble. Spade agrees to take the case, and his partner Archer shadows the girl in hopes of discovering more about her. When Archer ends up dead shortly thereafter, Spade must investigate Miss Wonderly (whose real name is Brigid O’Shaughnessy) and the various shady characters with whom she is involved. But the case becomes even more dangerous than he imagined when he discovers a group of criminals on the trail of a priceless historical artifact known as the Maltese falcon.
I hate to say this about such a well-loved classic mystery, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. The writing style didn’t do anything for me, and the plot was only so-so. Now, I’m sure it was wildly creative at the time, as I believe Hammett was one of the pioneers of the noir genre. But in this day and age, the twists are all too familiar. I am glad I read the book, since it’s an influential part of pop culture, but it’s not something that I’d read again just for fun. I am curious to see the movie, though; I predict that this is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book! All in all, while I quite liked The Thin Man, this book was just not for me.
6 thoughts on “Review: The Maltese Falcon”
I’ve always wanted to try this book but haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is an author that I’ve heard a lot about but I’ve never tried. I think I’ll try The Thin Man instead so thank for sharing that!
The Thin Man is a lot more fun, in my opinion! The book is a bit darker than the movie (which is also great, if you haven’t seen it!) but still a good read.
I remember enjoying this book–but I had already seen the movie, and I had fun picturing Humphrey Bogart as the lead. 🙂
I’m looking forward to watching the movie. I feel like Bogey can only improve things!