The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

“By Gad sir, you’re a character! You come in here threatening me, expecting me to give you information…” The fat man smiled. novelstuff’s mouth formed a sharp v.

“Tell me all you know about Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (1930).”

“Well sir,” the fat man began, cocking his head and grinning, “I’ll tell you, but by Gad this is going to be one of the most astounding crime novels you’ll ever hear about, never mind the movie! The Maltese Falcon, a modern crime classic, opens with Sam Spade, a San Francisco private eye, visited in his office by a real knock-out young lady, Miss. Wonderly. Spade agrees to take on Miss. Wonderly’s case, an assignment to tail her sister’s suitor. But he finds himself drawn into the hunt for a small black figure of a bird, the eponymous Maltese falcon.

“The prose, good sir, is clear but quite unremarkable.”

novelstuff frowned.

“Well then what is it that makes this book such a classic?”

“Well sir… that would be the protagonist, Sam Spade. He’s a real tough guy, a cold-hearted womaniser, verging on an anti-hero. Yet he comes off favourably next to the cast of crooks and thieves. The point of view is third-person and objective, which means that although the action follows Spade, the reader doesn’t have access to his thoughts and feelings. This heightens Spade’s charisma and tough-guy image. He is a great character for this tightly written hard-boiled novel. He fits in to a shady world filled with even shadier characters, all of whom have their own motives at heart for any friendships or sharing of information. The tails, late night meetings, and the presence of the femme fatale Miss. Wonderly, all contribute to the book’s hard-boiled appeal. Plotting is tight throughout, and there’s a satisfying twist at the end.”

novelstuff drank and asked: “And how much for its return?”

“One classic crime novel – that you’ll never forget as long as you live.”

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One Response to The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

  1. Pingback: The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain » NOVEL STUFF

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