Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
It’s 1921—seven years before Sam Spade will solve the famous case of the Maltese Falcon. He’s just set up his own agency in San Francisco and he gets off to a quick start, working cases (he doesn’t do domestic) and hiring a bright young secretary...more
In the middle of THE MALTESE FALCON, which has been called the first existential detective novel, Sam Spade tells Brigid O'Shaugnessy about a case involving a man named Flitcraft, who disappeared from his affluent life in Tacoma, only to be tracked down ten years later in Spokane, living an identical life. This story, which has no bearing whatsoever on the MALTESE FALCON, is Joe Gores' starting point for this prequel.
As with his previous novel, HAMMETT, Go...more
It's been a long time since I read The Maltese Falcon by Hammett, so...more
Nearly all critics begin their reviews with one, head-scratching question: Why? The pages of book sections are littered with excoriating reviews of prequels to classics like Gone With The Wind and The Godfather. So it's an even greater tribute to Gores's achievement that, but for one glaring exception, he creates a chorus of converts. This meticulously researched backstory is a highly entertaining novel in its own right, albeit one that happens to cast new light on one of crime fiction's most co...more
You could tell that Gores knew and loved the characters,...more
This new book takes place in San Francisco during the 1920's - an era of bootleg whiskey, brothels, longshoremen unions, & corruption. Sam takes...more
Watch for the homages to Hammet, Spade takes an alias of "Nick Charles" at one point. I felt that the main vilian was relatively faceless, but many of the minor characters were great. Even some real life people, Henry Brisbane for Harry Bridges, etc. There is no facon, but some owls show up
This book gives you everything you expect from a Sam Spade novel - mysteries, keen detective work, shootings, damsels in distress, slimey partners, and the quick hard and fast dialogue that Humphrey Bogart pushed to iconic!
Spade & Archer will draw you in from the beginning with Spade impersonating a Port Authori...more
Actually, Hammett’s surviving daughter gave permission. Gores approached her in 1999 about doing a prequel, and she said no. Then in 2004, she approached him about a sequel. He said no, but restated his interest i...more
We meet Sam Spade just after WW I in Seattle, where he is about to quit the Continental detective agency and strike out on his own. He goes to San Francisco, hangs out a shingle, hires the great Effie Perine as a secretary and is off and running. As I was reading this book I was picturing Humphrey Bogart in the...more
His excellent noir, The Maltese Falcon, was the only story that featured private eye, Sam Spade.
Anyone who saw the movie was struck with Humphrey Bogart's ability to vitalize Spade. And his monologue at the end, directed at Mary Astor is perfection.
Now with the blessing of the Hammett estate, Joe Gor...more
I know that to some people it might seem like bad manners or even heresy to presume to take the Bogart-character-to-be and write a tale around him and his partner. But who among us has never read a collaboration of two or more authors? Or a book completed posthumously by a second author? Or something ghost-written (ok, leave that one out of the "good" side of the scoreboard)? Or even more likely, a...more
Having not read The Maltese Falcon (although I think I saw the movie a decade ago) I'm (again!) going to be a bit out of the water when it comes to reviewing this thing in the proper context. I mean, in addition to filling in some of the background for the aforementioned book, this is supposed to be written in the same style, right?
I'm going to assume TMF has an incredible array of historical factoids about San Francisco that have no bearing...more
What Joe Gores does extremely well is pay tribute to all that is good about Dashiell Hammett. He revels in the task, struts his literary stuff, and winds up with a very respectable spin-off. The characters are true t...more
I suppose it's inevitable when appro...more
The author is inarguably an expert on Hammett: his work, his life, his style, his quirks. Still, it's damn creepy how closely he hit natural tone and flow Hammett in this piece.
Amy Tan said that her mother told her she believed that grandma had visited Amy and told her the story of the Joy Luck Club...she laughed at the story...I wondered if the same thing had happened to Gores. I could see Hammett slo...more