The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Narrated by Eric Meyers
The Maltese Falcon is my Throwback Thursday pick this week because Dashiell Hammett ignited my love of detective stories with this book. Yes, I know I’ve spoken of my adoration of Sherlock Holmes but in my humble opinion they are horses of different colors. Samuel Spade is plain reckless in the way he goes about rooting out clues while Sherlock Holmes plays chess with his cases.
Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, first serialised 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.
My Review: This audiobook was fantastic. The narration was just plain excellent. I was completely entertained and couldn’t put it away.
I’ve come to terms with books written in this era. I look at them as pillars marking history. I do my best to look past the racism and sexism and focus on the entertainment value. In the Maltese Falcon there is sexism but I choose to look at it this way; Brigid O’Shaughnessy could have taken Spade out at any point if she had really wanted to. She was smart but her failing was that she fell in love with Spade. Yes, I do think she loved him. A clever girl like her would have had a way out. One that didn’t depend on Spade taking the fall for her.
My next project is to see the film version. I can’t believe it either but I’ve never seen it. Humphrey Bogart is one of my favorite actors of all time so it is kind of ridiculous that I’ve never seen the movie. This weekend. I promise.
So don’t forget about the Maltese Falcon when you’re audio book shopping or book shopping for that matter. This isn’t some dry detective story that Hollywood had to make into a movie to breathe some life into it. Samuel Spade isn’t just some detective. Brigid O’Shaughnessy is a whole lot more than she appears to be which offers some balance in the story. If all of that wasn’t enough- The maltese Falcon that everyone is searching for? Not what it appears to be either. This story has a lot of drama in it so don’t pass it up.