The Maltese Falcon first appeared in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929. Almost immediately it was acknowledged, not only as a great crime novel, but as an enduring masterpiece of American fiction. Sam Spade, its protagonist, is the archetypal tough, cynical P.I., "able," as his creator explained, "to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent by-stander or client." And what a client!
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