The Maltese Falcon
By Dashiell Hammett
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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett ranked # 56 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
The Maltese Falcon (1930) is a detective novel by Dashiell Hammett that has been adapted several times for the cinema. The main character, Sam Spade, appears only in three lesser known short stories and this novel, yet is widely cited as the crystalizing figure in the development of the hard-boiled private detective genre.
Spade was a departure from Hammett's perennially nameless and less than glamorous detective, The Continental Op. Sam Spade combined several features of previous detectives, most notably his cold detachment, keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination to achieve his own justice. He is the man who
has seen the wretched, the corrupt, the tawdry side of life but still retains his "tarnished idealism".
Raymond Chandler based Philip Marlowe initially on Hammett's Spade and developed the character beyond its inspirational origin.
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