The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett was first published in 1929. I loved this one although I must admit that I love the film even more, it’s the Humphrey Bogart aspect of course, he’s brilliant as Sam Spade. I suspect that everyone knows the tale.
Miss Wonderly (tall and pliantly slender without angularity anywhere) visits the office that Sam Spade shares with his partner Miles Archer. She wants Spade to track down Floyd Thursby, the man who has run off with her younger sister. Archer gets the job of tailing Thursby. It doesn’t end well for either of them.
I love Hammett’s writing style. He puts so much detail in, every movement is mapped. His books must have been a dream to adapt to film. You can see the original film trailer below.
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett was first published in 1932.
Nick Charles had retired from the sleuthing business to concentrate on managing his finances which seem to have prospered since his marriage to the wealthy Nora, but he gets drawn back into the detection business when Julia Wolf is found shot dead. She had been the ‘confidential secretary’ to Clyde Miller Wynant, an inventor and one time husband of Mimi, who just happened to find Julia’s body. Mimi is well known to Nick, as are her children, Dorothy and Tristan.
There’s a lot of boozing going on in this book, so it all feels authentically like the America of Prohibition era. I enjoyed the relationship between Nick and Nora although it is a bit bizarre, Nora is too easy going in my opinion, but maybe she was Dashiell Hammett’s idea of the ideal wife!
There are several ghastly characters to really enjoy disliking, and there’s plenty of snappy dialogue. So there’s a lot to like about this book. It’s the first one by Dashiell Hammett that I’ve read and I believe he was the first writer to develop this style, but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Raymond Chandler’s writing, but that may just have been because I found it just a wee bit too convoluted with a lot of characters to keep track of. Maybe our unusually hot spell was affecting my brain!
A recent trip to Edinburgh led to my TBR list expanding by twelve books – in no time – many of them could be described as being for young people or YA as they tend to be categorised nowadays, some of them I had never even heard of but I reasoned that if a book is a Newbery Medal winner it should be a good read – for all ages.
The Giant Baby by Allan Ahlberg The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi The Kirk of the Corrie by Isabel Cameron White Bell Heather by Isabel Cameron The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett The Dividing Sea by Ruth Elwin Harris The Eleventh Orphan by Joan Lingard Cuckoo in the Nest by Michelle Magorian Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild Mail Royal by Nigel Tranter Horned Helmet by Henry Treece Legions of the Eagle by Henry Treece