The Maltese Falcon

  • by Dashiell Hammett
  • Narrated by William Dufris
  • 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade is hired to locate a client's sister by tailing the sister's companion. Spade's partner Miles Archer takes on the assignment, and quickly both Archer and the man he was shadowing are murdered. As Spade pursues the mystery of his partner's death, he is drawn into a circle of colorful characters, and they are all after a legendary statuette of a falcon that had long ago been made for King Charles of Spain. Encrusted with jewels, it is worth a fortune. Missing for centuries, it resurfaced in 1921, when it was covered in black enamel to disguise its true value.The Maltese Falcon is the definitive masterpiece of the hard-boiled detective genre. Humphrey Bogart immortalized tough-guy Sam Spade in the classic 1941 film.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: This audiobook did the near-impossible and made me forget Humphrey Bogart. William Dufris' rich characterizations made Hammett's dialogue crackle, shifting effortlessly from Sam Spade's edgy confidence to Joel Cairo's counterfeit menace to Brigid O'Shaughnessy's misleading vulnerability. More importantly, Dupris' expressive tone focused me on Hammett's elegantly economic prose, reminding me why this is the seminal work of hard-boiled fiction. —Ed Walloga

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What the Critics Say

"Dashiell Hammett...is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." (The Boston Globe)
"The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel." (The Times Literary Supplement)
"Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction." (The New York Times)
"William Dufris is a one-man band, covering the entire cast of diverse characters with unbelievable ease....just short of amazing." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A little overacted

Good book and great story. The narrator was good and the audio quality was good. Only one problem - the narrator REALLY overacted the women's parts. In fact, he carried on so much, I fast forwarded through a couple of sections because it got so nerve-rattling.

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- Jim

Play it again, Sam.

The audiobook of the Maltese Falcon exceeded my expectations. It was richer, and more detailed than the movie (in which Bogie played Sam Spade). The femme fatale is wonderfully portrayed, as is the treacherous Joel Cairo. This is the first time I have heard an American reader carry off multiple voices and characters. Usually the 'dipthong drift' which characterises Amer-English makes the voices too whiney and insubstantial when compared, for example, with Richard Burton or Derek Jacobi. But this book is the exception. The voice of Cairo (Peter Lorrie in the movie) is delightful, as if the actor himself, dead all these years, had come back.

Listening to the audiobook also made me realise how much 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit ?' owed to the book, rather than the movie. The mental images created are very strong in this novel, the characters so stereotypical or 'characaturised' as to be almost cartoonish, but in an entertaining way, and in a style which reflected the 1940's I suppose.

This might be the best audiobook I have heard so far. Strongly recommended, but you do have to pay attention !
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- Christopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-19-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.