This past summer I read my first novel, The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett. I enjoyed his gritty writing style so I searched out another one of his books. My local library had a copy of The Maltese Falcon. I had heard of the novel and the movie, but never sought either one out. That’s a shame. Maybe not, since now I have the movie to look forward to.
But first, the novel. Sam Spade is a private detective. He and his partner, Miles Archer, are hired by a young woman who wants one of the detectives to follow a man who she claims has run away with her sister. The detectives don’t believe her story entirely, but money is money. And she paid a lot more than normal. Archer decides he’ll be the one to follow the mysterious man.
Later that night Spade learns that his partner is dead. Shot. Also, the man who Archer followed for the female client is, guess what, dead. This doesn’t look good for Spade. To make matters worse, he didn’t get along with his partner. However, he did get along with Archer’s wife. The police are suspicious. Is Spade connected to the murder or murders?
Now Spade has a real problem on his hands. He needs to track down the young woman who hired him. He does. However, he gets more than he bargained for. Yes the woman wasn’t completely honest from the beginning. Can she ever tell the truth and what is she hiding? And who is she hiding from?
This is a short novel. Yet, it isn’t short on twists and turns. And Spade is cool. He’s not the nicest guy. But if I was in trouble, I would want him on my side. He doesn’t talk much. Doesn’t always tell the truth. And he’s hard. Hammett never reveals what his characters are thinking, so while you see their actions and hear what they say, you don’t know why they are doing certain things. It’s brilliant really. It kept me glued to my seat so I could find out what was going on.
Lately I’ve been addicted to detective stories. This book did not ruin the genre for me. It’s making me crave more. This novel is on my 1001 books you must read before you die and I read it for R.I.P.