Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Maltese Falcon: Dashiell Hammett, 7 – 19 January, 2010.
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
The second book in Ian Rankin’s 50 Greatest Thrillers well deserves its place in history as a classic hardboiled novel. The main character, Sam Spade, is a loveable rogue that the audience can’t tire of trying to work out. His morals and personal life are more than a little questionable, but the reader is left rooting for him to the end. He is supported by a stellar supporting cast of unforgettable characters, including the rich and clever Joel Cairo, hilariously cartoon-like Gutman and the femme fatale that is Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Stealing the show is Wilmer Cook, who becomes hysterical as the hopeless and stupid stooge.
The plot is fast-paced, and the reader must work for their money to follow the twists. As those vying for the falcon change their stories, and allegiences, constantly, full marks to Hammett for constructing a story that gives the brain a good workout.
Sharp dialogue, cunning plot twists (and screams of frustration to discover O’Shaughnessy has lied again!) all add up to make The Maltese Falcon a priceless piece, not only for the characters in the book seeking the statue, but for the reader of the tale of the same name.