Reviews / Thriller / Crime Fiction

Book Review: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The maltese falcon Dashiell Hammett.

The Maltese Falcon, widely regarded as the mother of all noir novels, has been immortalized by the classic Humphrey Bogart flick. If you have seen the movie but haven’t read the book, you are missing more than you can imagine.

The Story

The Maltese Falcon features Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett’s self-serving San Francisco detective. When Sam’s partner is murdered, the cops put the blame on the detective. Things get super complicated when a gorgeous woman begs for Sam’s help, bad guys demand a payoff from Sam, and a mystery develops around a priceless gold statuette of a falcon.

The Style

The coolest thing about the book is Sam Spade himself. He talks, fights, and flirts with inimitable style. Hammett’s style is pretty much straight forward and without too much description. The focus is more on action; the story is high on murder, betrayal, and sex. The plot, as you may guess, is highly intelligent and intricate.

The Maltese Falcon is a solid proof of the fact that even pulp/crime fiction can be a classic. It stands the test of time and the plot makes as much sense today as it did in 1930. For most readers, The Maltese Falcon will be even more appealing than even Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and Farewell, my Lovely.

Similar Books:

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

Solomon’s Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer



4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

  1. This has been unread on my shelf for way too long, having been into Chandler’s novels for so long, I should change it up a bit and if this is regarded as better than Mr C’s work then I need to up my game and read it.

    • The Maltese Falcon is one of the best detective novels I have ever read (not that it means much given I am a James Hadley Chase fan) but I still prefer Chandler. TMF and Red Harvest both are classics but nothing can beat the humor of Chandler’s novels.

  2. I love Hammett’s prose, and I’ve never been able to read Chandler as I just think Dash is so much better. I love The Contintental Op. Dammit – now you’ve made me want to go read all his books again….

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