Sunday, February 14, 2016

2/14/1930 The Maltese Falcon takes flight

February 14, 1930.  A lot of great event choices for Valentine's Day, but let's go with the publication on this date of one of the classic mystery novels of all time.

Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon first appeared in Black Mask Magazine  in five installments. There are about 2,000 differences between the two texts, about one-third of them being more than just copyediting.  Six editions sold out that year.

If by any chance you are one of those people who saw the John Huston/Humphrey Bogart flick (the third movie based on the novel)  but haven't read the book, let me urge you to do it.  For one thing, you will learn who searched Brigid O'Shaughnessy's apartment while she was sleeping with Sam Spade.  (It's mentioned in the movie but never explained.)  You'll be surprised.

And then there is the Flitcraft Parable, as it is known.  This little tale that Spade tells Brigid was left out of the movie but it may have led to more critical discussion than any other four pages in Hammett's works.  Don't you want to read it for yourself?

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