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Summary

The definitive masterpiece of the hard-boiled detective genre, The Maltese Falcon first appeared in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929 and was almost immediately acknowledged as not only a great crime novel but an enduring masterpiece of American fiction. 

Tough, cynical PI Sam Spade - a man who, as his creator explained, is "able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with" - is hired by the story's irresistible femme fatale, Brigid O'Shaughnessy, to locate the client's sister by tailing her companion. Spade's partner, Miles Archer, takes on the assignment, and quickly both he and the man he was shadowing are murdered. As Spade pursues the mystery of his partner's death, he is drawn into a circle of colorful characters - all of them after a legendary statuette of a falcon fashioned long ago for King Charles of Spain. 

Made of gold and encrusted with jewels, the falcon is worth a fortune. Missing for centuries, it resurfaced in Paris in 1911, covered in black enamel to disguise its value, and then disappeared again until it was traced to Constantinople - and now, it would seem, to Spade's own backyard.

©2018 Dashiell Hammett (P)2018 Blackstone Publishing

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classic

enjoyed listening to this classic detective story, so different from today's private eye tales so enjoy

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Don't delay

amazing work specifically coming in with the bias of having seen the movie adaptation and more so having read other source material for film adaptations this proved more valuable in that it gave insights onto to strengths and weakness of adaptation and the genre itself amongst other insight into genre tropes and other subtleties like insight into the writers subconscious intelligence and influences.

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Great listen

Loved it, great characters, good plot and wonderfully narrated. Shame there's not more books here

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Watch the film seriously more enjoyable

My high expectations from watching the film over the last 50 years were quickly dashed .
The reader lacked any character was bland .
The story is complicated and i lost the thread on a number of occasions as i lost interest in the reading

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  • peter
  • 28-08-20

How it’s done

Maybe a couple of scenes were a tad overwritten but the pace, action and story qualified this as a one-session listen. Great characters and a fast moving story makes this one of the greatest noir novels of all time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Pete S
  • 10-01-20

Not as good as I would have expected

I'll lead off with the fact that I have never seen the movie. That said, knowing that this book was made into the quintessential film noir I may have set higher expectations than I should have. The book is very good. I think perhaps I was expecting more mystery, akin to The Thin Man, than the raw, blue-collar detective work that fills this book.

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  • rose711
  • 01-02-21

Narrator makes a classic noir story dull

Who could take a classic story and make me not want to finish it? This narrator has the enthusiasm of a wet mop.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kimberly Deans
  • 23-09-20

Well read in the style of the genre

Outstanding book, presented in a classic style.

I highly recommend if you are a fan of the movie, or have not seen the movie.

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  • George
  • 20-06-20

A classic

I’ve heard about this book and this author for a long time and of course I saw the movie. This was exactly what I expected.....even a little more hard boiled.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-21

Too drawn out?

I felt that some sections of the book just went on and on. The story was ok, this was perhaps my first detective book, and probably the last; not my cup of tea.

The narration though, was excellent. Probably the one thing that drew me in to the book was the narrator.

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  • Cathy J Hunter
  • 26-07-21

Beautiful noir.

Recognized many of the scenes from the book in the movie. I’m an Bogart fan and John Huston. Thought the book was followed closely by the movie.

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  • N. Snel-Hest
  • 30-05-21

Good story, soporific performance

The story is as good as most of Hammett’s, but the performance by the narrator, tries for atmospheric and reaches only dull.

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  • Patrick T. Watson
  • 07-05-21

A great experience

Might be the best crime novel ever written. Sam Spade is the archetypal PI, none better. The voice actor is mostly quite good but doesn’t have the range to cover all the necessary voices.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-04-21

Fantastic narration. Story a star underwhelming.

Having seen the film 7 or 8 times, this first (and last) go of the novel was most definitely underwhelming.

The ending felt very anticlimactic compared to the film, as I was waiting to hear Sam Spade say, "It's uhh....the things dreams are made of."

Narration was excellent.