Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammet


This is the one that started it all. Dashiell Hammet's novel basically popularized the hard-boiled detective story. Hammet's detective Sam Spade paved the way for Phillip Marlowe, Lew Archer Matthew Scudder, and Easy Rawlins. The classic story follows private dick Spade after he learns that his partner has been murdered working a case. In trying to figure out who did it, he gets entangled with a bunch of low-life criminals who are all after an ugly black bird statue that supposedly worth tons of money.

There's not much you can say about this one that hasn't already been said. Although it failed to blow me away due to the fact that the plot is so familiar in this day and age, it's an indisputable classic, and undoubtedly essential reading for any lover of crime fiction.

Great hard-boiled dialogue:
“He said: 'I'm going to send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means you'll be out again in twenty years. You're an angel. I'll wait for you." He cleared his throat. "If they hang you I'll always remember you.'"

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