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.
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©1930 Dashiell Hammett (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks
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"Outstanding American classic!"
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!
"Great way to read - Audible.com"
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.
"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.
"Easy to follow mystery"
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.
This is a great crime story. It felt original and the characters were excellent. The narration was also excellent.
I’m new to the old hard-boiled detective genre. My first foray was “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler. Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon is my second. I know DH’s Sam Spade came first, but I prefer RC’s Philip Marlowe. Both are detached, jaded, wise-crackers. But Sam Spade strikes me as almost all-knowing. His hunches are never off and he seems to know everyone’s secret motivations and likely past/future actions. He’s defined as a “blonde Satan” at the beginning of the book, so maybe that was intentional. I found Philip Marlowe more relatable, but I may read another Sam Spade book as I found this one enjoyable.
The Maltese Falcon is a classic of the genre for a reason and, my quibbling aside, it deserves five stars.
First let's get this out of the way: I have never seen the movie.
So, I thought I might try listening to the story, as it's an acclaimed classic. I suppose I can see why, but I came away not liking Sam Spade much. On the other hand, the supporting characters were terrific, and once the plot got underway, there was quite a lot of suspense. Glad I listened, but not disappointed that there were no Spade sequels. Perhaps that had to do with my not "getting into" the main character, though it read to me more like a work of literary fiction than mystery story, which may have been a factor as well.
Top notch narration brought the story to life, especially the varied cast of secondary characters!
"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.
"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?
Has been copied so much that listening to the original felt cliched in a way but I thoroughly
enjoyed the book.
"WHEN YOUR SLAPPED, YOU'LL LIKE IT."
YOUR AN ANGEL
This was really good for the first four hours. Sam Spade is cool. All the ladies love him, cause he calls them Angel and precious, but other than that he could care less about them. Sam is a sort of Anti-hero, the bad boy who does what is right eventually. After four hours it grows old. I put my player on 2x and even skipped a few chapters.
A BLONDE SATAN
For those who are upset over Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, it did not start with Cruise. Humphrey Bogart who is shorter than several of his female counterparts and who has dark hair and no muscles, plays Sam Spade. Sam Spade in the book is 6 feet tall, has blonde hair, is muscular and looks like a BLONDE SATAN.
I love time period pieces for a look at the language and the science. Flashlights are electric torches, a bullet is a pill, and etc... I thought it was funny that, THE FAT MAN's name is GUTMAN.
I liked the narrator, but I kept hearing Bogart in my head.
"pretty average "
Dont make the mistake of thinking this is like Chandler.. its distinctly more Tintin in its simplicity of plot and characters. At times depressingly predicable. If your interested in crime noir fiction I strongly recommend Chandler instead or Ellroy if you prefer something more adult.
If your as curious I am why this although has an excellent reputation as a crime writer and insist on listening I strongly recommend you turn the speed up, thats not usually something I do but this ones read waaaay too slow!
"Of course it's brilliant!"
... it's Sam Spade and the Maltese Falcon.
superbly written and expertly read.
A must, even if you already know it and more so, if you don't.
"superb story. very well and entertaining read"
know the Bogart film backwards so it was good to hear the book. Huston stayed surprisingly close. this book I found riveting from start to finish. very well read, the character s were brought to life. A must
"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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