The Maltese Falcon
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. First edition. A solid Nearly Fine copy of Hammett's masterpiece, lacking the original dust jacket. Spine just minutely toned, otherwise very bright and fresh.
Hammett’s classic hard-boiled detective tale, which would go on to influence countless others in the genre. The story features the first appearance of Sam Spade – a character Hammett referred to as a man with “no original” – and was initially serialized in the classic pulp magazine Black Mask before it was published in book form. Hammett was inspired by his own work as a detective, which is thought to have contributed to Hammett’s lauded realism. Famed mystery author, Raymond Chandler, said of the work: “If you can show me 20 books written approximately 20 years back that have as much guts and life now, I’ll eat them between slices of Edmund Wilson’s head.”
The Maltese Falcon also inspired numerous films, including the 1941 noir classic of the same name, (which Variety called “one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form”) written and directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sydney Greenstreet. The film would be nominated for three Academy Awards – including Best Picture – and was chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The novel appears on Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English Language Novels of the 20th century. Near Fine (Item #5258)