Monday, 29 April 2013

The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

If you are looking for a good detective mystery novel that ensnares your senses and leave you wanting for more at the end, then this novel may be the answer of your quest.

The protagonist Sam Spade and his partner Miles Archer are private detectives cum muscle for hire who are always eager for any job until it is legit and pays well. So when the beautiful mysterious woman, Miss Wonderly shows up at their office and offers to pay hefty money for the simple assignment of keeping an eye on  a man, Floyd Thursby who allegedly eloped with her younger sister, Sam and Miles are more than happy to oblige Miss Wonderly, although Sam sense something troubling about this whole business.

Sam’s foreboding proves right. Soon Miles is found murdered and sooner than later Floyd also turns up dead. To make matters worse, Sam makes it to the top of the suspect list with the police for these murders and a little inquiry into the background of Miss Wonderly reveals that she is none that she claims to be. In fact, she could be more resourceful and dangerous than Sam ever imagined.

Moreover, other enigmatic, ruthless and dangerous men start visiting Sam, looking for a lost artifact called “The Maltese falcon”. Their offer is very simple, handsome payment in return of the artifact or deadly consequences of permanent nature if the artifact is not returned, but since Sam does not even know about the existence of this artifact then how possibly he can have it.

Now Sam must use all of his wit, skill and cunning to save his skin and solve the complicated puzzle of “The Maltese Falcon”.

This novel has an adrenalin-pumping story that delivers pure entertainment in no nonsense, to the point way. The plot is gritty, has plenty of twists and turns, and keeps you guessing until the end.

The one thing that I liked in particular about the character of Sam Spade is that he is a mean selfish kind of the detective unlike the white hat detectives found in most of the mystery novels. Sam is the kind of guy who loves money, can do anything for his survival and given an opportunity he can take advantage of anyone. He gets by each day knowing that at the end of the day he does more good than harm. This grey morality of Sam works very well for the plot and events depicted in the novel.

At the end, I can only say that from the depths of imagination and pulp fiction, Mr. Hammett has conjured up a novel, which is one of the best novels ever produced in detective mystery genre, and no doubt, it is a compulsive read.

My rating is five out of five stars.


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