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The Maltese Falcon | [Dashiell Hammett]

The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, first serialized in a magazine in 1930, is best known through the iconic Humphrey Bogart film of 1941. But it was the book that created the classic "noir" genre with its tough private detective threading his cool way between the criminals and the law. Sam Spade, the private eye solving the mystery of the Maltese statuette, was the template for Philip Marlowe and a host of others…. but they come no more shrewd and cunning with Hammett peppering the text with one-liners.
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Publisher's Summary

Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, first serialized in a magazine in 1930, is best known through the iconic Humphrey Bogart film of 1941. But it was the book that created the classic "noir" genre with its tough private detective threading his cool way between the criminals and the law. Sam Spade, the private eye solving the mystery of the Maltese statuette, was the template for Philip Marlowe and a host of others. But they come no more shrewd and cunning with Hammett peppering the text with one-liners. Not even Bogart bettered the original. An idiomatic new recording from Eric Meyers.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©1930 Dashiell Hammett (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (495 )
5 star
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4.1 (451 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathi 03-07-13
    Kathi 03-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding American classic!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Not only are the writings of Dashiell Hammett some of the seminal novels (and short stories) in the beginnings of the great American detective genre (more action-oriented than the somewhat cerebral British mysteries), The Maltese Falcon is a classic in it's own right!

    Beyond that, it is difficult to find words that adequately praise the amazing narration of Eric Meyers. He brought such depth of character to each voice he portrayed, especially that of one man named Gutman. (AKA "Fatman" in the book). However, he was amazingly good with each person (though not surprisingly, better with the male voices.)


    What other book might you compare The Maltese Falcon to and why?

    I think Dashiell Hammett is to American detective fiction as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers or Ngaio Marsh (for instance) are to British mysteries.


    What does Eric Meyers bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He brought this to a spectacular level of performance that would be hard to top. This book is classic as read, in movie form, and I now think as narrated by Eric Meyers!


    Any additional comments?

    What more could be said about this book that has not already been written by thousands of others over the years? If you love mysteries, The Maltese Falcon, written in 1930, deserves a read, simply for the experience of being grounded in the origins of the whole American detective novel. Beyond that, it is a very good mystery in it's own right. But if for no other reason, please treat yourself to a listen by a narrator who is just perfect for this book and these characters!

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 06-22-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 06-22-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic: But Has Feel of Class Assignment"

    Hammett shocked readers. He won't today. So stripped of that support, Falcon's now a slow period piece. The legendary snappy dialogue's also lost its snap over the years, copied and tightened as it's been by so many who've mastered this genre since Sam Spade was invented. Hammett invented pacing that goosed along the plot. And yet, even there his followers have learned to crank up the pace to warp speed.

    It was interesting to return to the firm of Archer & Spade, but it was more like a class assignment... Something for study perhaps. Something to appreciate for its contributions.

    I read Falcon when I was young. I like that memory more than this revisit. Hmmmm... Maybe you can't go home again, eh?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    clara Santiago de Surco, Peru 12-26-11
    clara Santiago de Surco, Peru 12-26-11
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    "Great way to read - Audible.com"
    Would you listen to The Maltese Falcon again? Why?

    Absolutely would listen to the story yet again (I have the movie on disc but enjoy the reading more). I highly recommend having your favorite old and new books read to you by an electronic device such as an Ipods, MP3s or even you home PC etc. As I grow older I find myself losing interest in simply ready and fall asleep quickly after a single chapter tops. With Audible.com reading me my personal favorite I am able to actually listen for hours before sleep overtakes me.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Naturally it is Sam Spade who is in every scene except one when his partner Miles Archer is killed by the treacherous villain whose name I will not mention lest I spoil the story for the mystery fans who have not read this Dashiell Hammett classic.


    What about Eric Meyers’s performance did you like?

    I found it to be excellent although his Joel Cairo is a bit to feminine.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I certainly did not cry but did laugh a times when Sam dealt with both the


    Any additional comments?

    Great fun and at times a can't wait to hear what happens next mystery. Hammett's best work.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 07-23-14
    Jason Poteau, OK, United States 07-23-14 Member Since 2008

    Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Classic... Shallow on Depth"

    I have not seen the classic movie yet, but am looking forward to it. I love the clear representation of the 20's & 30's. You can tell it is actually written during those times and not a modern story about those times. Because of the era, I was kind of surprised at the foul language, even though it is a crime novel. It is not excessive as many contemporary books contain. There is not a lot of blood and gore as you might guess, and not a lot of depth to the mystery. There simply was nothing at risk to the reader. The suspense is not on par with the movies and books of today either. The characters didn't have time to be developed and the descriptions were limited and you really didn't care too much about any of them. All that being said, I loved how the protagonist had his way with all those around him. He said what he wanted and had the guts to go into the fire to solve his case. Not sure it is worth a credit. I got it on the Deal of the Day sale. The narration was great and made it an enjoyable listen. I was able to keep up fine on 2X speed so you can listen in half the time. I hope this helps someone. If any of my review helped you, please click YES below. Later.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie San Francisco, CA, United States 12-26-11
    Laurie San Francisco, CA, United States 12-26-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy to follow mystery"
    Any additional comments?

    I like mysteries but sometimes on audio I feel that it can be hard to keep track of all the details. This mystery is light and funny at times, and is perfect for audio. I only gave 4 stars for story, though, because the ending was a little flat.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 03-08-13
    Amazon Customer MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classics brought to life"

    I'm quite the fan of the neo-noir stories (my most recent favourite is Alistair Reynolds' Century Rain) so I figured it might be interesting to go back to one of the pioneering detective-noir stories to see how it all began.

    Obviously, harking from 1930 it's a little dated, but it's just telling a story, not prognosticating the future (as are most other things I read) so it doesn't really suffer from this. The main thing that really kept annoying me was the role of the leading ladies, all of which were suitably (for the time) docile and demure and which to me somewhat soured what was otherwise a good story (I can't really explain without entering spoiler territory, so I shan't).

    The story is described elsewhere so I'm not going to touch on that more than to say that it's well paced and Spade is quite unpredictable in his actions so knowing what's coming next is not quite as easy to suppose as you might think. The descriptive prose is brief, but effective. When it comes to places and scenes, transporting! I relished the language used in the evocative descriptions of old San Francisco.

    Overall I enjoyed it, although I'd not be rushing out to read more of Sam Spade (which isn't a problem, since there isn't any).

    With regard to the audio, Mr Meyers does an excellent job voicing the characters, both male and female (especially Gutman) and there's not the briefest hint of music or other audible interference (huzzah). There is a recording error at 1:23:11 when the phrase "Spade inclined his head" is repeated but apart from that it's all good.

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cori 10-30-12
    cori 10-30-12 Member Since 2009

    work at a job that lets me listen to books all day I like history, good mysteries and humor

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    "Classic"

    Has been copied so much that listening to the original felt cliched in a way but I thoroughly
    enjoyed the book.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 09-29-14
    Douglas 09-29-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Foul Language Warning"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Only because it is considered a classic


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It is a little outdated


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I did not like some of his characterizations


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Foul Language warning - repeated use of "God damn" - very offensive

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta 07-09-14
    Roberta 07-09-14
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    "absolutely loved the book!"
    What did you love best about The Maltese Falcon?

    The attitude
    a true detective story
    don't write them like this anymore - too bad


    What other book might you compare The Maltese Falcon to and why?

    Philip Marlowe
    Pictured the same type of fellow
    You just liked them, the attitude, the follow through, the way you really would solve a mystery


    What about Eric Meyers’s performance did you like?

    Just the right voice


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the newspaper clue
    it made sense


    Any additional comments?

    I really, really enjoyed the book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Bustos 04-24-14
    D. Bustos 04-24-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Think I'd prefer the grammy nominated dramatizatio"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I'm relatively new to audio books and this is only my second fiction book to consume but I'm beginning to wonder if I'd prefer a straight reading and let my imagination do the voices rather than the narrator doing voices. If I took a second listen I'd listen to the dramatization.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't know if is the hard boiled detective genre, a product of its time, or the fact that I so looked forward to getting to this book that I hyped it up in my mind but I only have a lukewarm review. Over the years it was definitely recommended to me by more than one person so its been in the queue for a long time. I think what bothered me most was out of 3 women none seem remotely realistic and the book boderlined on a misogynistic view of women. The twists and turns kept me interested but every time a woman interacted with Sam Spade I would just think to myself. Really?

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Cathadada
    8/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The myth of the Maltese Falcon -or of love?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes this was definitely time well spent. I eally enjoyed this on several long walks and whilst doing chores, it's a great way to lose yourself in a book and get things done!


    If you’ve listened to books by Dashiell Hammett before, how does this one compare?

    This was my first Dashiell Hammett book. Although I enjoyed it I don't think I would read another.


    Which character – as performed by Eric Meyers – was your favourite?

    Sam Spade


    Do you think The Maltese Falcon needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No the story was perfectly well contained and entire in itself.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the Maltese Falcon, the idea of impossible wealth in the form of a jewelled bird worth millions that all the characters were obsessed by, was like the ideal of Romantic Love as personified by Bridget O'Shaughnessy in the story. At the end Sam Spade discovered them both to be fakes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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