Review: The Maltese Falcon

 

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The Maltese Falcon is considered by many to be one of the best mysteries of all time – going toe to toe with the likes of Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe. First published in 1929, this novel essentially set the standard for the crime and detective genre over the last 80 years.

The book’s protagonist, Sam Spade, is largely cited as the original hard-nosed private eye – he smokes and drinks, hates the local police, notices the details of a crime scene that most detectives miss. He’s stubborn and proud, and, frankly, couldn’t give a rip about what people think of his methods. Spade is an advocate for justice, but maybe most importantly, his own justice. He is hired by the gorgeous Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, yet soon after accepting the case, his partner is shot and killed in his pursuit. Suddenly, it’s personal – and he soon realizes this case goes much deeper than he initially thought.

Spade finds himself tangled up in a web of curious characters, none of which he trusts fully, his loyalties changing with every scene. These characters are all after an unthinkably valuable treasure – the Maltese Falcon. The falcon is a legendary item and many believe it to be fictional: jewel-encrusted and worth an astronomical amount of money, it is sought out and plundered, trading hands numerous times, and eventually being mysteriously lost over the ages. As Spade steps into the caper, he soon discovers that he is not only the hunter, but the hunted as well.

The Maltese Falcon is a classic crime novel, and its characters personify the dark and mysterious qualities that we have come to expect in crime novels. The plot is a complex Scooby-Doo – a handful of shady characters, any one of which could be the guilty perpetrator. This book is James Bond, Batman, Dick Tracy, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? all rolled up into one. Actually, that isn’t true – more like those four are all taken from Dashiell Hammett’s creation. A quick, easy, must read for the detective in every guy.

 

About APC

Following his days in the Octagon, APC worked for an undisclosed amount of time tracking and studying a colony of Yetis in eastern Nepal (read more about his travels in his memoir, "Backgammon 101: Let the Yeti Win"). Nowadays, he spends his time in Havana fitting model ships inside glass bottles, and counting his gold bullions with his chimpanzee, Don Ultimo.
Currently Reading:
-Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
-East of Eden by John Stienbeck
-Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

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