The Maltese Falcon

Rachel Sloan

In my AP English Literature class, we recently did a project on an author of our choice in which we read a book by this particular author and wrote a paper. Later in the year, we will read a second book and write another paper. For my project, I chose the author Dashiell Hammett and the first book I read was the famous Maltese Falcon.

The Maltese Falcon has been said to be one of the greatest detective novels ever and was adapted into one of the top rated movies of all time. I chose the book because I adore detective novels and mysteries. I personally enjoy the mystery novels written by Agatha Christie the most. It therefore makes sense that I was very excited to read these book. However, with all the hype I heard about it and my vast collection of books to compare it to, I was somewhat disappointed despite an intriguing plot. It followed the story of detective Sam Spade who is helping the beautiful Brigid O’Shaughnessy find a legendary falcon statue. The statue is worth a lot of money, and other people are desperately searching for the statue, which makes it even harder to get. The story points out the human nature of greed, since everyone wants the Falcon for their own selfish reasons.

I found the story to move incredibly slowly and noticed nothing extremely interesting happened until the end of the book. The author definitely could’ve done much more with the plot line. Many reviews say Hammett is the best detective writer, yet I don’t think he can even compete with Agatha Christie and her vast collection of detective stories and mysteries. How can we forget about some of Agatha’s classics, like And Then There Were None and Murder On The Orient Express? It was unfortunate to me that Hammett’s novel failed to even shine a candle to my favorite author’s books.

If you like detective stories as much as I do, I do suggest reading this book and forming an opinion for yourself. It’s very possible that you will disagree with my overall negative review of the book. Maybe the plot line will intrigue you more than it intrigued me, or maybe you will start wanting the Falcon for yourself! Whatever the case may be, I would recommend giving the book a try based on all the rave reviews it has received in the past.