THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammet

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Sam Spade never hesitates to take a case when the money is good.  When the young, attractive Miss Wonderly asks him to tail the man who ran off with her sister, he doesn’t think it will be much trouble.  But the case goes terribly wrong when Spade’s partner, Archer, is murdered.  Spade soon realizes that Miss Wonderly isn’t who she claims to be, and that a complicated web of murder, lies, and betrayal surrounds an incredibly valuable black falcon figurine.  As the police begin to question the private investigator’s methods, Spade continues to wriggle out of their grasp, throwing himself into the hunt for the Maltese Falcon and hoping to unravel the mystery and maybe get his hands on some of the profit.

The Maltese Falcon is a fast-paced, hard-boiled detective novel, with a complicated plot that keeps you guessing.  It’s great for anyone who likes classic cop banter and noir-style detective stories.  It is the book on which the 1941 film starring Humphrey Bogart was based.  (And although I do enjoy the book, I actually prefer the film; is that blasphemy?)

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