The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

Paperback Crime Masterworks

By (author) Dashiell Hammett

List price $12.54

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Product description

THE MALTESE FALCON (1930) set the standard by which the private eye genre is judged. 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?

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Author information

B.1894, d.1961. After spells as newsboy, freight clerk, labourer, messenger, stevedore and advertising manager, Hammett became an operative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. His experiences as a private detective laid the foundation for his writing career.

Editorial reviews

The film of The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, is widely regarded as a masterpiece of noir, and the original book is just as satisfying. Its chilling authenticity is the result of Hammett's own experience as a private detective with the legendary Pinkerton Agency, combined with his ability to stretch reality into the wildest realms of fiction. Set in San Francisco in the 1920s, its central character is investigator Sam Spade, who, probably wisely, expects the worst of everyone. He takes nothing at face value, not even when the 'tall, pliantly slender' Miss Wonderly arrives in his office, begging him to trace her sister who has gone missing with an unsuitable man. It seems a thin story and Sam, rightly, doesn't believe a word of it. There is much more to the commission than appears on the surface and instinct tells him he's being tempted into a complex and dangerous situation. After two murders later and a great deal of evasion, deception and flourishing of guns, Sam finds himself drawn into the hunt for a fabulous treasure which could make him rich beyond the dreams of avarice and his real client, the sinister Fat Man, even richer - especially if he can cheat Sam out of his share. This is a riveting novel that set a whole new standard for thriller writing and is just as readable today. Spade's cynicism and charisma make him a real personality, and the assorted cast of tricksters and villains he encounters add spice and humour to the narrative. Hardboiled heaven. (Kirkus UK)