The Maltese Falcon

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Article in Adult Fiction, Big Read, Historical, and Mystery categories.

About the Author

Dashiell Hammett based his "hard-boiled" detective fiction on personal experiences. Leaving home at 13 and working a variety of odd jobs, he was employed by the Pinkerton Agency from 1915 to 1922, except for a tour as an ambulance driver during the Great War. He quit detective work partly from disillusionment from the agency's participation in strike-breaking.

Sam Spade's office was modeled on Hammet's own apartment in San Francisco.

Other Works by Dashiell Hammett

short stories featuring the unnamed protagonist of Red Harvest and The Dain Curse.

Film Adaptations

A scene from the 1931 movie starring Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels.


Warner Brothers released a lighter (and less sexually explicit) version in 1936 starring Bette Davis, entitled Satan Met A Lady


The trailer from John Huston's 1941 adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.


Art Theft

The Los Angeles Police Department's Art Theft Detail hosts a site with news, summaries of real cases, and even puzzles allowing you to guess whether a work is real or fake.