Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Maltese Falcon: Smart Guy and Pretty Liar

I read this book while waiting decades for my academic transcript. The book is not so long after all, and I finished it before the transcript finished processing anyway, so, I had to spend tedious hours afterwards. But that's not the point.

Let's talk about the story. Two detectives, Spade and Archer, were asked by a lady to tail a man named Thursby. Archer followed the man as told, while Spade took care of the office. But before they got any explanation, information, or any of the sort, Archer was killed, Thursby was too, and Spade became a suspect.

Spade, partly for his partner, partly for his pride as a detective, and partly because the money that he would get, investigated the matter by himself, dodging the police using his influence and reputation in the city. He then knew that the people involved in the tragedy were after a bigger fish – the Maltese Falcon – a little bird statuette worth a fortune.

With his genius brain he got into the circle and tried to win at the game. But the lady who first got him into this was worse than anyone could imagine.

This is my first time reading anything by Hammett, and anything like this too. I like it and I don't like it. I like the story. It's amusing, original, and interesting. But I'm not a fan of the writing style. I feel like it's flat, unemotional, not thrilling or exciting. It's like watching a spy film with people tailing people for minutes on screen.

The book deserves its place in classic detective stories. Unlike some detective stories which focus on killing and tricks and so make the story sounds silly and purposeless, this story rings true. People commit crime for a purpose, not for hobby (except for a psychopath, of course). The detective, Spade, is also so human. He's not a hero I expect, but a man fit for his profession. Although I can't agree, I understand why some people think that it's the best detective story in the world. 

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