Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review for The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Genre: Detective Fiction
Pages: 217
Source: Library

Summery from GoodReads...
A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett’s coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.

Ah, it's been almost a week since I've posted! I haven't stopped reading, I promise, I just haven't gotten around to writing the reviews but I will! I finished Lament and I'm in the middle of Wicked Appetite so I'll definitely have reviews for you. School has started again and I'm already going krazy with tons of reading and professors who won't answer their e-mails. *sigh* oh well. On to the review....

The Good

To start off I really enjoyed the characterization in this book. Even if I did have some problems with Sam Spade (whose emotions were as unreadable to the reader as they are to the characters) the other characters were intriguing and fun. I especially loved the relationship between Spade and his secretary. I found it endearing how he seemed to care for her (and value her opinion) and how loyal she was to him even though he was an idiot. She was probably my favorite character of the bunch (the others were pretty amazing too.) Though I’ve never seen the movie version the actors who played Spade, Gutman, and Cairo were very vivid in my mind while reading this (they were all in Casablanca as well). It was like the book was written with them in mind.
I was a little unsure of how I felt about the way the author went about the plot but ultimately I was satisfied. There was an unexpected twist at the end which I enjoyed and I love how Spade, though a major jerk, had his own code of honor that he followed; I think those are my favorite types of characters.

The Bad
One of my biggest problems with this book was the language (slang). Whenever they fell into their “noir detective” lingo I had a hard time deciphering their meaning. It was definitely a period piece and the ending seemed to leave it open for more stories following Sam Spade but I don’t think there was any more.
I also had some trouble, as I said earlier, trying to get a feel for Sam Spade. I was never sure what was real emotions and what was an act. I could guess the basic template for his character but other than that I was a bit lost.

The Krazyness
We didn't believe your story, Mrs. O'Shaughnessy, we believed your 200 dollars. I mean you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it alright.”

"People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite."

"By Gad, sir, you are a character. There's never any telling what you'll say or do next, except that it's bound to be something astonishing."

Joel Cairo: "You always have a very smooth explanation..."
Sam Spade
: "What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?"

Moral of the Story
If you ever find yourself in the lair of a potential enemy do yourself a favor… leave the booze alone.

 3 Elf Cookies

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