Read: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, 1980 edition, 0517338416.
I started reading Hammett when I was in high school and have always been a fan of the Continental Op stories. I'm sure I read Maltese before but do not recall for certain. I may be confusing the novel with the motion picture. I picked this on out for the Men's Book Club.
This is a short novel. No wonder the edition I received was able to cram five of Hammett's novels in one volume. The genre has definitely changed since Hammett helped start it. The violence in Maltese is mostly offstage. The only action is some fisticuffs between Sam Spade and a couple bad guys who are no physical match for him. As mentioned by another member of the book discussion the novel has a lot of dialogue. There is little description of the setting or the characters.
A good novel with a scheming and malicious broad revealed at the end. I did not remember Spade as being so vulnerable to the gal. Modern novelists would write more about Spade's inner turmoil - if any - about turning her in to the police. I liked that absence, it left me thinking more about Spade instead fo just laying everything out.
I was going to re-read Dain Curse of Red Harvest but have some other books checked out and waiting so I won't do that now. I wonder if my paperbacks of those two novels are still around.