September Book: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon CoverFigured I had better get this post up since it's not that long of a book.

Good Reads Link
Amazon (Note that if you buy  the  kindle Canadian version, the price drops to $4, and if you are in Canada it is public domain)

Anyway, I'll start some threads for those who want to talk about chapters as they go along.

If you want to plan ahead for library reasons, we'll do Wintering by Peter Geye next month.

36 thoughts on “September Book: The Maltese Falcon”

    1. 'Spoiler' SelectShow
      1. Definitely a grittier tone, plus makes me wonder more about his past. Especially with regards to his interactions with the police.

    1. Hammett’s Sam Spade & Effie Perine are the inspiration for the naming convention for les chats Chez Hayes. Mrs. Hayes named them before we got together; it seemed like a fun pattern to continue. Both Sam & Effie have departed, but Wally (who, grey as the Swedish winter’s sky, is properly “Wallander”) & Charlie (Chan) are on the case.

    2. Related Book:

      Shadow Man: A Biography of Lewis Miles Archer by Gabriel Blackwell is a bizarre experiment in the hard-boiled noir genre, that uses The Maltese Falcon and Dashiell Hammett as characters/plot points. It takes the noir genre and stretches it as far as it will possibly go, it weaves fictional characters and noir authors into the same story (it's very, very meta). You need The Maltese Falcon at least as a reference point, and it helps to know that you're getting into a deconstruction before you begin, but it's a cool book to read once you catch on.

      It used to be available for free through Prime, but I see that is no longer the case (unless you do Unlimited). Civil Coping Mechanisms is a good indie publishing press (plus they used to send one "get out of a social obligation free" coupon with each book order, so they know their audience).

      1. Depending on how you count, I think I got 8 in the first two chapters.

        Three are explicitly "Sam rolled a cigarette and smoked it" type passages where we see it. Then there's also a "5 cigarettes later" type line to show time passing.

        1. Being pretty far removed from a fairly heavy smoking habit in which I was hand-rolling most of my smokes, the times when he double-taps himself stand out all the more — both out of self-recognition & horror.

        2. The description of him rolling one of the early cigarettes was so detailed, I could use it as a script for a youtube video on how to roll a cigarette.

    3. I got curious about locations in the book, so I started poking around in Google Maps. After finding the place where the first murder happens, I stumbled upon this collection of images — Sam Spade's San Francisco. I want to run down a copy of the North Point printing of this with the photos of Spade-period San Francisco. (Holy smokes, a first edition 1929 hardcover in simply good condition is listed for $136,003 on Alibris.)

    1. I assume because it's in the public domain for Canada so it's easy to pretend to be Canadian and get the public domain version.

  1. I've read this book. J-term assignment, Freshman year of college. The class was "[Something] ["and" or "about"] The City", and gave me needed humanities credits.
    We also watched Bronson's "Death Wish", read some essays, learned about "Bohemian Flats" near the U of MN, took buses. This January 1997, a very cold and snowy one.
    I and two classmates made it up to the top floor of the IDS tower after some group had their lunch there and... there were leftover Yoplait Yogurts! Free Lunch! If you can get to the bathrooms up there... I stood on the sink and leaned forward into the window, supported by my forehead (looking south or southwest).

      1. Oh, good- I was on Chapter 9 and feeling like I should have been commenting in the various chapters as I went. I'm OK with finishing and then going back through, I feel like there's plot hints being dropped here and there that I'm missing on the first read.

    1. I'm also done, but have been waiting for more to finish as well. I'll probably post some stuff later this week.

  2. I finally got to the 50%mark last night.

    I'll tell ya, I'm not a big fan so far. I mean I'll finish it, but I mightent not if we weren't all reading it together.

  3. So any thoughts? I'll give Hammett a lot of credit for tying all the moving pieces up into such a neat little bow (only other story I can think of that was wrapped up so tightly is Breaking Bad), and he strung out the mystery quite well. On the other hand, Sam Spade has aged horribly, so I didn't connect with him much despite the obvious attempts to make him appealing. Ultimately, I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, and I enjoyed it enough that I would be willing to read another story by Hammett.

    1. Sam Spade has aged horribly

      So much this. It actually makes me think I should avoid watching some of the cop shows of past eras. F Troop, Dragnet etc. Though I do wonder how I would view them now as opposed to as a kid. My travels back through the Vonnegut catalog in 2017? was very different than my first run and that is I think an important exercise.

      The wrapping things up tightly is another thing that kind of turned me off, but not a big deal. I have to run through my notes for more.

    2. Actual Spoiler SelectShow
      1. Ok, I guess I meant that there intertwining stories of the characters were all resolved. The actual status of the falcon wasn't all that interesting to me. Much like the characters, not Walt's dirty undies, are what drives The Big Lebowski.

        1. Ok, I get that. I think for me it was the opposite: the characters weren't a big draw for me, so the falcon carried more interest.

  4. Finished last night. I enjoy mysteries plenty, and I can see how this one found its place, but I feel like the permutations and tributes and interpretations have, quite handily, surpassed the original.

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