The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett


Historical Mystery

The  Maltese falcon The Maltese FalconDashiell Hammett; Vintage Books 1989WorldCatSam Spade is a hard boiled detective in San Fransico in the late 1920’s. He uses women, friends, and any tool he can to solve cases that come to him. He doesn’t believe anything he is told.

Effie Perrine, their secretary, ushers Miss Wonderly into Sam Spade’s and Miles Archer’s office. Miss Wonderly is a beautiful red-headed woman who is upset. She was frightened for her sister who ran off with a man. She wants the man followed that night. Miles assures her he will follow the man himself. Later that night Sam receives a phone call. Miles has been shot to death.

Thus begins a story of deception and intrigue that pulls in the reader. Miss Wonderly quickly develops more aliases. Well, maybe that man wasn’t with her sister, but she couldn’t tell them the real reason she wanted him followed. She pleads with Sam Spade to help her.

Sam Spade is the quintessential macho man detective. He uses and discards women without cracking an emotion. He doesn’t carry a gun normally himself, yet has no qualms facing down a gunman holding two guns on him. He will not hesitate to lie if it aids his progress.

I did not like Sam Spade, or many of the other characters as well. He is too hard boiled, too unemotional, and too much the liar. He does what needs done, and will hurt anybody who gets into his way.

This is a timeless mystery that shouldn’t be missed.

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