I began reading The Maltese Falcon with every expectation that I would enjoy it. I have heard so many comparisons of Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler that anything else seemed impossible. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Try as hard as I can, I cannot see where the brilliance supposedly lies. All of the ingredients are there: beautiful, lying and tragic woman; hard-boiled detective; copious amounts of booze and coffee; evil men slapping the beautiful women in the face. (Seriously, what is up with all the slapping in noir?) Somehow, despite everything, it came off less compelling than a third-rate Alistair MacLean. What’s up with that?
October 28, 2011