The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

I just finished this classic hard boiled mystery by Dashiell Hammett.  It was fantastic and made me question why I don’t read more of the classics.   I loved the writing style, simple and direct.  The vernacular is realistic from the time period.  This book really is a definitive example of crime noir from the late 1920s and 1930s.  In addition, the North Point Press edition that I read included photographs from San Francisco of places mentioned in the book.

Sam Spade is well drawn character, the private detective of olden days, a real man’s man.  He is not to be messed with even by the gorgeous “Miss Wonderly”.  Sam’s line,

“Listen.  This isn’t a dammed bit of good.  You’ll never understand me, but I’ll try once more and then we’ll give up.  Listen.  When a man’s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it.  It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him.  He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it.”

gives a great picture of Sam Spade and his moral code.

The events are realistic events, even though truthfully the may occur over the life of one private detective rather than in the course of one week.  The pacing keeps the story moving right along as the intrigues and machinations of the various characters are exposed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend it for lover’s of mystery or crime fiction.

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