Hard Cover. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. First Edition. Fine.
First edition, first printing. Bound in the publisher's gray cloth, with falcon illustration stamped in steel blue to the front board, spine decorations and lettering stamped in steel blue and black, black top stain. An excellent copy with only the slightest touch of toning to the upper spine edge, else a very fine copy. The Maltese Falcon is the author's third novel and the only book to feature the fictional private detective Sam Spade. Originally published in five installments in the pulp magazine Black Mask from September 1929 - January 1930, The Maltese Falcon marks a departure from Hammett's protagonist The Continental Op, who starred in his first two novels. Sam Spade is a conglomeration of Hammett's earlier detective figures, defined by his attention to detail, somewhat standoffish demeanor, and ruthless dedication to justice. Interestingly, although he only appeared in this novel and a few of Hammett's short stories, Sam Spade is considered the archetypal hard-boiled detective character and is specifically credited as an inspiration for Raymond Chandler's notable character, Detective Philip Marlowe. The Maltese Falcon is a wonderfully complicated murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. It was adapted into the 1941 classic film noir starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone.