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.
©1930 Dashiell Hammett (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
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.)
I think Dashiell Hammett is to American detective fiction as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers or Ngaio Marsh (for instance) are to British mysteries.
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!
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!
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.
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.
I found it to be excellent although his Joel Cairo is a bit to feminine.
I certainly did not cry but did laugh a times when Sam dealt with both the
Great fun and at times a can't wait to hear what happens next mystery. Hammett's best work.
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.
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?
Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...
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.
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.
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.
work at a job that lets me listen to books all day I like history, good mysteries and humor
Has been copied so much that listening to the original felt cliched in a way but I thoroughly
enjoyed the book.
a true detective story
don't write them like this anymore - too bad
Pictured the same type of fellow
You just liked them, the attitude, the follow through, the way you really would solve a mystery
Just the right voice
the newspaper clue
it made sense
I really, really enjoyed the 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.
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?
Only because it is considered a classic
It is a little outdated
I did not like some of his characterizations
Foul Language warning - repeated use of "God damn" - very offensive
"The myth of the Maltese Falcon -or of love?"
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!
This was my first Dashiell Hammett book. Although I enjoyed it I don't think I would read another.
No the story was perfectly well contained and entire in itself.
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.
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