The Maltese Falcon, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (17 ratings)


One of the greatest crime novels of the 20th century. Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby.

But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780752865331



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Showing 1 - 5 of 17 reviews.

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Review by

sam spade, fast talking detective who's always one step ahead. great detective story. Hammett wanted to write the first detective story that’s literature, and he accomplished that. There’s some great 20’s slang circling around here too.

Review by

What really makes this novel a pleasure to read is not, actually, its plotting. Rather, it is the disturbed psychology of its protagonist (the legendary Sam Spade), which is all too often overlooked. Sam is an individual who is fighteningly out of touch with his emotions (much like the protagonist of the French film Le Samourai, who is described by his creator as schizophrenic) and perhaps suffers from flattening of affect or another psychological malady. This 'blond Satan' is all the more interesting to read of as a result.

Review by

I love the blatant sleaziness of this story that is evident in the characters and the plot. The scenes in this novel are pretty funny too. I also really like the cynicism.

Review by

I've read this & "The Thin Man" before, but not for many years, so no rating yet. I'm due to re-read it for a book group soon. Probably more fair to rate it then as the book & the movie have melded in my head. I remember liking both quite a bit, but it says something that I haven't re-read the book.--------Jan09, I'm reading it again with an entirely new appreciation of it. The story line was great. It's a mystery with a tough PI in it. He's a tough, but flawed man, which makes the story even more suspenseful since you're not quite sure what he's going to do next. It's set in 1929, the year it was first published, but isn't particularly dated except by some of the police procedures. Things were a lot more loose then. Some of the descriptions are a bit odd. There's some extreme detail about things most wouldn't bother to describe now. Other times, it was the opposite.All in all, I enjoyed it very much. It was well worth re-reading.

Review by

This is THE defining work of the 20s era private investigator mystery. Sam Spade must track down his partner’s killer as he tries to help the beautiful Brigid find the illusive Maltese Falcon. But the bodies begin to add up and Spade realizes he cannot believe anything anyone is telling him (tough guy that he is), least of all Brigid. The writing is incredibly descriptive, the story line so unpredictable, and the characters so intriguing that this book is an amazingly fast read that was hard to put down. I never knew what was going to happen next (I love when that happens) and most of all, I just ache for Spade in the decision he makes at the end. It’s like Casablanca, only better…cause it’s a book.

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