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213 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1930
“I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.”The Maltese Falcon is that rare novel that is the foundation of an entire genre: the hard-boiled detective story. I saw the movie years ago, and probably wouldn’t have picked up the book if I wasn’t trying to get through the Pop Chart Lab 100 books list. But I’m glad I did.
“You know, that's good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we'd never get anywhere”
“You always have, I must say, a smooth explanation ready."
“What do you want me to do? Learn to stutter?”
* "Her eyes were brown and playful in a shiny boyish face."
* "His eyes...were angry."
* "Her eyes, of blue that was almost violet, did not lose their troubled look." (so she felt troubled?)
* "He left her standing in the centre of the floor looking after him with dazed blue eyes."
* "Spade's yellow-green eyes were sombre. His face was wooden, with a trace of sullenness around the mouth."
* "Dundy [looked] at Spade with green eyes hard and bright and satisfied..."
* "His eyes were sultry."
* "Her eyes were inquisitive."
* "[Gutman's] eyes, made small by fat puffs around them, were dark and sleek."
* "The fat man's eyes were dark gleams in ambush behind pink puffs of flesh."
* "His eyes were dark holes in an oily pink face."
"Her face became smooth and untroubled except for the faintest of dubious glints in her eyes." (This is interesting, because she is untroubled, but he is skeptical, hence we get two perspectives from the one pair of eyes.)
"He looked rather pleasantly like a blonde satan."
"She was a blonde woman of a few more years than thirty. Her facial prettiness was perhaps five years past its best moment. Her body for all its sturdiness was finely modelled and exquisite."
"She was tall and pliantly slender, without angularity anywhere. Her body was erect and high-breasted, her legs long, her hands and feet narrow...The hair curling from under her blue hat was darkly red, her full lips more brightly red. White teeth glistened in the crescent her timid smile made."
"Oh, I'm so tired..., so tired of it all, of myself, of lying and thinking up lies, and of not knowing what is a lie and what is the truth..."
"I haven't lived a good life...I've been bad - worse than you could know - but I'm not all bad...You can see that, can't you? Then can't you trust me a little? Oh I'm so alone and afraid, and I've got nobody to help me if you won't help me."
"His second wife didn't look like the first, but they were more alike than they were different. You know, the kind of women that play fair games of golf and bridge and like new salad recipes...I don't think he even knew he had settled back naturally into the same groove he had jumped out of in Tacoma...He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not falling."
"All we've got is the fact that maybe you love me and maybe I love you...All of me...wants to say to hell with the consequences and do it."
“I couldn't be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, its possible to get another. There's only one Maltese Falcon.”