Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If you lose a son it's possible to get another--and there's only one Maltese falcon

Even without being super familiar with the movie (I've seen it once or twice and remember pieces of it, but not the majority) the movie can't help but overshadow the book. It's so iconic that even without remembering the specifics of the movie, you know the feel, you know the scenes, you know the tone. It sort of made reading the book an uphill battle.

Think about every stereotype you know about the hard-boiled private investigator. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett is where those came from. I kept having to remind myself that this book isn't cliched. The book made the cliches.

Sam Spade is a private detective and one day a woman comes in with a story about a missing sister. Then there are lies and more lies and a missing statue that is apparently worth a lot of money. You never know who's lying, what angle anyone is playing, or what's so great about this statue.

Rather than do a real review, here are random thoughts:

You keep trying to tell me Sam Spade is blond and I giggle every time because no, no he isn't. How silly Mr.   Hammett for you to get that wrong about your own character.

Sam Spade doesn't just kiss a dame. He does it "on the mouth". Which I suppose is an accurate description of a normal kiss, except I kept picturing him giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Or that Coneheads kiss. So you know, not sexy. But every time "He kissed her on the mouth".

The female characters are pretty one-note. But then again all the characters are, so it's hard to get mad at Hammett for this.

Speaking of, Sam Spade doesn't have a lot of emotion. Like at all. I'm not saying I expect a PI to be super touchy-feely, but I expect something beyond "Oh that guy died. Meh, whatchya gonna do." And that's pretty much his tone for the entire book.

Also, hey look! I finished another challenge book! I am in no way going to actually complete these 2 challenges, but I'm still trying.

Title quote on page 190

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. Orion paperback, 2005. Originally published 1929