The Maltese Falcon and Woman in the Dark

Thoughts   The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Vintage Books, div of Random House 1992 (orig pub’d 1929), 217 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:    for R.I.P. V!   and for Book to Movie Challenge.  And my husband also read The Maltese Falcon; he doesn’t read many books so we are both now looking forward to watching the flick.

FIRST SENTENCE: “Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    Our Sam Spade, Private Investigator, comes to work one day to find a beautiful woman in his office who wants to hire him.   Trouble, trouble, trouble.    He has to avoid getting arrested (and getting beat up – a lot) while trying to track down the source of the trouble, the lost artifact called The Maltese Falcon.

WHAT’s COOL:   Mr. Hammett writes in an extremely descriptive style with lots and lots of colors.   It really stands out how many times he mentions ‘her jade-colored dress’, ‘her green dress’, ‘the flash of emerald’, etc and then some.     The pace of the action picks up as the story lines unfold – it’s a fun ride.    The dialogue is quite good and I can see that this might have been quite easy to adapt to the big screen.

RATING:    Four slices of pie.


Thoughts   Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett, Thorndike Press Large Print 1990 (orig pub’d 1933) Introduction 1988 Robert B. Parker, 128 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   More Hammett!    Found this at the Home for the Aged where I volunteer.

FIRST SENTENCE:  “Her right ankle turned under her and she fell.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   Late one stormy night, a foreign woman escaping her husband?  benefactor?  sugar daddy?    (It’s unclear) happens to knock on the door of a man recently out of prison.  He agrees to help rescue her but it’s all just ‘trouble, trouble, trouble.’   It’s somewhat of a love story, believe it or not.  (I’m not altogether sure about this, either.)

WHAT’s COOL:    Parker’s Intro is a great segue from The Maltese Falcon to this short story.    He describes common threads to all the ‘tough guys’ Hammett uses for his protagonists and he explains how this story was a departure in theme, thus the ‘love story’ component explained.    I would assume if you are a fan of Hammett, this story WITH the Introduction is a must.

But I didn’t like the story.    It didn’t have the frantic “Oh no!  What’s going to happen next?”  suspenseful tension.   And come on, women should not fall in love with the tough guy when he forcibly kisses them.    It’s definitely a book that lacks respect for women; I don’t care what time period it is set in.

RATING:  Two slices of pie.

WORDS:   p.144 of TMF – lathy … = lathlike; long and thin. [I could not, however, find ‘lathlike’ in the dictionary.]

151 of TMF – swart …  =  swarthy or of dark complexion.

******  Both of these books are available in ******


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20 thoughts on “The Maltese Falcon and Woman in the Dark

  1. I loved The Maltese Falcon, both book and movie! I’ll be reading The Thin Man a little later on for RIP. The only one of Hammett’s I haven’t really liked was The Red Harvest – it was a little too disturbing for me!

  2. She

    Good deal! I’ve never read either of these, but I did read The Thin Man which was fantastic. The characters were so funny– I was quite surprised– plus the mystery was top notch.

  3. I think I started with The Maltese Falcon sometime back but I put it aside for one reason or another. You make me just want to get it off my shelf (and put this again on my ever-changing RIP pool) 🙂

  4. This challenge is showing me a lot of mystery series that I wouldn’t mind trying. I don’t normally read a lot of them, but always good to have a list of good ones for when I plan to.

  5. The Thin Man movies are hilarious. I don’t know that I’d agree they’re better than the book (to me) but I can see why someone would say that because they’re just so darned fun. I’ve got the whole set. I think there are 7 movies.

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