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As an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency Dashiell Hammett knew about sleuthing from the inside, but his career was cut short by the ruin of his health in World War I. These three celebrated novels are therefore the products of a hard real life, not a literary education. Despite - or because of - that, Hammett had an enormous effect on mainstream writers between the wars. Like his readers, they were attracted by the combination of laconic style, sharp convincing dialogue, vivid settings and, above all, the low-life, hard-boiled characters who populate the streets of his stories. Taking detective fiction out of the drawing-room, Hammett `gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it', as Raymond Chandler said. In so doing, he left his mark on modern fiction.
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Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett's archetypally tough San Francisco detective, is more noir than L.A. Confidential and more vulnerable than Raymond Chandler's Marlowe. In The Maltese Falcon, the best known of Hammett's Sam Spade novels (including The Dain Curse and The Glass Key), Spade is tough enough to bluff the toughest thugs and hold off the police, risking his reputation when a beautiful woman begs for his help, while knowing that betrayal may deal him a new hand in the next moment.
Spade's partner is murdered on a stakeout; the cops blame him for the killing; a beautiful redhead with a heartbreaking story appears and disappears; grotesque villains demand a payoff he can't provide; and everyone wants a fabulously valuable gold statuette of a falcon, created as tribute for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Who has it? And what will it take to get it back? Spade's solution is as complicated as the motives of the seekers assembled in his hotel room, but the truth can be a cold comfort indeed.
Spade is bigger (and blonder) in the book than in the movie, and his Mephistophelean countenance is by turns seductive and volcanic. Sam knows how to fight, whom to call, how to rifle drawers and secrets without leaving a trace, and just the right way to call a woman "Angel" and convince her that she is. He is the quintessence of intelligent cool, with a wise guy's perfect pitch. If you only know the movie, read the book. If you're riveted by Chinatown or wonder where Robert B. Parker's Spenser gets his comebacks, read the master. --Barbara SchlieperFrom the Back Cover:
"Dashiell Hammett. . . is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." --The Boston Globe
"The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel."--The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction."--The New York Times
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Book Description Everyman's Library, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB00RLZZQP6
Book Description Everyman's Library, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111857152638
Book Description Everyman's Library. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1857152638 Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Seller Inventory # XM-1857152638