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The Maltese Falcon

Cover of The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

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"Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That kind of reputation might be good business."—Samuel Spade, private investigator

"Spade...is what most of the private detectives I worked with would like to have been and in their cockier moments thought they approached."—Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon first appeared in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929. Almost immediately it was acknowledged as not only a great crime novel but an enduring masterpiece of American fiction. Sam Spade, its protagonist, is the archetypal tough, cynical PI, "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 bystander or client." And what a client!—the irresistible and treacherous femme fatale Brigid O'Shaughnessy.

Believing the book's vividly drawn characters and memorable dialogue cry out for theatrical treatment, Blackstone Audio commissioned this faithful dramatization by the award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear, in which a brilliant cast brings to life all the excitement and suspense of Hammett's original in the playhouse of the mind.

"Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That kind of reputation might be good business."—Samuel Spade, private investigator

"Spade...is what most of the private detectives I worked with would like to have been and in their cockier moments thought they approached."—Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon first appeared in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929. Almost immediately it was acknowledged as not only a great crime novel but an enduring masterpiece of American fiction. Sam Spade, its protagonist, is the archetypal tough, cynical PI, "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 bystander or client." And what a client!—the irresistible and treacherous femme fatale Brigid O'Shaughnessy.

Believing the book's vividly drawn characters and memorable dialogue cry out for theatrical treatment, Blackstone Audio commissioned this faithful dramatization by the award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear, in which a brilliant cast brings to life all the excitement and suspense of Hammett's original in the playhouse of the mind.

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  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    9 - 12

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He is widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time. In addition to The Maltese Falcon, his pioneering novels include Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man (1934).

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine They're all here--Sam Spade, the streetwise detective; the gorgeous but dangerous dame; the squirrelly guy; and the fat man--all chasing an elusive statue of a mythical bird across the most American of literary landscapes, fog-bound San Francisco in the 1920s. Few novels have been more "noir"--or more influential. With fine talents like Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh, and Edward Herrmann, Blackstone Audio and the Hollywood Theater of the Ear have created a taut, well-paced audio production, drawn directly from the novel, first serialized in BLACK MASK MAGAZINE in 1929. All of Hammett's signature descriptions and stylish dialogue are at the forefront. Sexy, darkly comic, and broodingly moral, THE MALTESE FALCON is like a jolt of bourbon--it wakes you up and keeps you listening. B.P. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 26, 2009
    The classic noir story is given new life with this full-cast adaptation. When a damsel in distress steps into Sam Spade's office spinning a yarn of a kidnapped sister and shady older man, Spade is doubtful but intrigued. Soon, he's pulled into an international hunt for a bird made of gold that leaves a trail of dead bodies, including his partner. Michael Madsen initially comes on a bit strong as Spade with a tone and growl that goes beyond previous renditions, but by the end, he has appreciatively mellowed. The supporting cast (including Sandra Oh and Edward Herrmann) are fine but unmemorable. The sound effects fading in and out of the production prove so subtle that it's often hard to determine if one is hearing them from the story or from the real world. The occasional musical score is reminiscent of old-time radio and used sparingly. A Vintage paperback.

  • AudioFile Magazine All the characters in this story are famously despicable. Private eye Sam Spade is motivated by personal gain and his own ego. His clients are no more moral--they are selfish, dishonest, double-crossing, greedy, and sometimes even violent. At the heart of this classic "noir" is the search for the valuable jewel-encrusted falcon. Despite the repugnance of the characters, William Dufris's reading is tremendously likable. His enthusiasm is well suited to creating distinctive voices for each character and an overarching atmosphere of distrust. Dufris's use of timing is impeccable--forcing slow, tortured silences that increase the suspense just when a print reader would be flying through the pages to discover the ending. A.B. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • New York Times Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction.
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    Permitted
    Transfer to device: 
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    Transfer to Apple® device: 
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    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
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