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Sam Spade Is Hired By The Fragrant Miss Wonderley To Track Down Her Sister, Who Has Eloped With A Louse Called Floyd Thursby But Miss Wonderley Is In Fact The Beautiful And Treacherous Brigid O Shaughnessy, And When Spade S Partner Miles Archer Is Shot While On Thursby S Trail, Spade Finds Himself Both Hunter And Hunted Can He Track Down The Jewel Encrusted Bird, A Treasure Worth Killing For, Before The Fat Man Finds Him Book Review4 out of 5 stars to The Maltese Falcon, a classic mystery novel written in 1930 by Dashiell Hammett If you ask a mystery fan when the genre started, a good chunk of them will say during the Golden Age 1920s 30s with authors like Dashiell Hammett, specifically with the creation of the Sam Spade character Immediately what comes to mind is the old fashioned black and white movies with the coat and hat on the detective, the accents and the chase scenes While these are all true, few have actually read these novels I ve been a fan of mystery since I was a young kid, reading a bunch in my teenage years I re read a lot during an independent study course I design while getting my English degree while in college This book was one of the first the Dean and my professor recommended to me I had read parts of it and seen the movies made from it, but I wasn t as familiar with the whole Golden Age But once you read this book, you thirst for It s so well written apart from some of the ideas that have positively changed since then, e.g racial or gender bias from a mystery perspective, you are immediately engaged And one of the sub plots in these types of books are often will he get the girl or is the girl on his side of the bad guy s side In The Maltese Falcon, you get it all It s international It s romantic It s dangerous It s scary It s complex And it ends in a very unexpected kinda way It s a game changer for the genre and that s why it s called the Golden Age For mystery fans, you better have read this one For non mystery fans, it s a good story, and if you like older books, them you should give it a chanceAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by. Look out folks here comes GREATNESSWhen you re slapped, you ll take it and like itimage error My top ten reasons why this Dashiell Hammett is one of the greatest crime novels ever written 1 The Voice Tough, Crisp hardboiled the story isn t told in first person but certainly has the feel of first person since we are so close to Sam Spade it s as if we re peering over the detective s shoulder from first to last page.2 The City The buildings and streets in San Francisco have such a tangible presence, even today, after nearly 100 years, they still give Maltese Falcon tours 3 Femme Fatale Brigid O Shaughnessy is the femme fatale Her looks, her way of speaking, her cunning, her charms, her allurement legions of writers of detective fiction have changed her name, her home town, color of her hair and eyes, but all you have to do is scratch the surface and there she is.4 Outside the Law Nobody likes a cog in the legal wheel or a grey flannel flunkey following orders Sam Spade is anything but an outsider to the police, district attorney and even his clients, Sammy is his own man, cracking the case in his own way, in his own time and even willing to get socked in the jaw by a police lieutenant or pulled in by a high ranking official to make it happen.5 Tone Sharp and crisp If you read and look carefully, an entire world is disclosed, as for example Spade emptied the unconscious man s pockets one by one, working methodically, moving the lax body when necessary, making a pile of the pockets contents on the desk When the last pocket had been turned out he returned to his own chair, rolled and lighted a cigarette, and began to examine his spoils He examined them with grave unhurried thoroughness 6 Violence Nothing juices the action in a detective fiction than cold bloody murder An entire string of murders are featured here, all happening at the right time to accelerate tempo Also, there s a good amount of roughhouse, with the least likely man in the novel, Joel Cairo, getting beat up every time he turns around Serves him right for thinking himself so refined and above it all 7 The Color of Character Dashiell Hammett set the gold standard here for writers of detective fiction The fat man was flabbily fat with bulbous pink cheeks and lips and chins and neck, with a great soft egg of a belly that was all his torso, and pendant cones for arms and legs As he advanced to meet Spade all his bulbs rose and shook and fell separately with such step, in the manner of clustered soap bubbles not yet released from the pipe through which they had been blown His eyes, made small by fat puffs around them, where dark and sleek Dark ringlets thinly covered his broad scalp He wore a back cutaway coat, black vest, black satin Ascot tie holding a pinkish pearl, striped grey worsted trousers, and patent leather shoes His voice was a throaty purr 8 The Moral Code As one character finds out the hard way, Sam Spade is a man of the high, uncompromising character You will have to read the novel to find out just how high and just how uncompromising 9 The Whole is Greater than the Parts The Maltese Falcon has that special something that separates it from other crime fiction, even crime fiction of the first order What is it Hard to put your finger on it, but as millions of readers have discovered every time they pick it up, this is one doozy of a classic 10, The Dingus Ah, yes, the object of obsessive desire, the bird with all those long lost jewels Has there ever been a famous actor closely connected with a famous object And, yes, in many ways, the much sought after black bird adds a unique aesthetic dimension to this tale of noir. Born in 1894 and serving as a sergeant in World War I, Dashiell Hammett used his experiences to become one of the premier detective writers of the first half of the twentieth century Set in Depression Era San Francisco and introducing the world to Samuel Spade, Hammett s The Maltese Falcon became a detective story that many in the genre still try to measure up to today A classic that helped change the way writers told detective stories, The Maltese Falcon is a classic case that contains all the elements of a fun whodunit Drawing inspiration from his own life, Hammett created Samuel Spade, a private eye detective who saw action in Europe in World War I At the opening of this book, Spade has taken on the services of a new client, one Miss Bridget O Shaughnessy, who requests protection from thugs who have tailed her around the globe Along with the assistance of his partner Miles Archer, Spade takes the case however, Archer is quickly gunned down by one of the aforementioned thugs, and the case spirals into action Spade is forced to work alone with only bit help from his secretary Effie Perrine and a classic whodunit ensues We find out that Spade has contacts all over San Francisco from his work as a private eye detective The police do not desire that a private detective encroaches on their work, and the chief as well as the district attorney are out to get him for Archer s murder, as far fetched as that sounds Underneath the murder and thugs is the root of the case a Maltese Falcon figurine estimated to be worth a million dollars In the depression era this was a large fortune, and O Shaughnessy hopes that Spade helps her procure the Falcon and deliver both her and it to safety before the thugs find them As this is detective noir, O Shaughnessy goes from client to lover and good to bad Each thug has at least one gun or pistol, and goons seem to be hanging around each corner, all as far fetched in character as the next Gutman, the fat man and only one with brains in the group Cairo, the apparent boy loving Levantine and Wilmer, Gutman s hired kid and fall guy Each attempts to force Spade into a corner, which of course, he eventually gets his way out of The Maltese Falcon is a classic detective noir story and fun whodunit A depression era story where everyone wore a trench coat and hat and rolled their own cigarettes, it is also a holdover from the 1920s gangster era, which is becoming one of my favorite eras to read about A pulp noir story that became a movie starring Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon is a classic detective tale in a genre that I am quickly starting to enjoy I rate The Maltese Falcon 4.5 and look forward to reading of Dashiell Hammett s detective cases.