National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon

by Dashiell Hammett

I’m one of the few—if there are any more—people moderately literate who take the detective story seriously.


Dashiell Hammett, 1932 (Courtesy of Josephine Hammett)

Some people were surprised when The Maltese Falcon, a detective novel, appeared on The Big Read list. Yes, it is a detective novel—one of the best ever written. It’s also a brilliant literary work, as well as a thriller, a love story, and a dark, dry comedy. The only criticism one could offer Hammett’s private-eye classic is that it is so much fun to read, it might be hard the first time through to realize how deeply observed and morally serious it is.

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