The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Here are the discussion questions for this Dashiell Hammett novel featured on BOOKED. Be sure to check out the general Booked club questions posted on our web site.

  1. Though it was written more than 75 years ago, The Maltese Falcon is still quite possibly the best-known crime mystery novel in the world. Penned by American writer Dashiell Hammett, it features one of the most famous and oft-imitated private eye of all time - the flinty-eyed, hard-boiled Sam Spade. The Times Literary Supplement says The Maltese Falcon is "the best detective story ever and an exceedingly well written novel." Do you agree or disagree? Did it live up to your expectations?

  2. What impact has Sam Spade had on popular culture's depiction of the Private Investigator?

  3. In the story it seems that Spade wastes no words, time, money or even love. He's a model of economy. What did that say about his character?

  4. Spade is bound by an incorruptible personal code of morals yet sleeps with his partner's wife. What did you think of Spade's moral code?

  5. What did you think of Hammett's depiction of the female characters in the novel; Spade's client, the knockout Brigid O'Shaughnessy, his girl Friday Effie Perine and his partner's wife Iva Archer?

  6. Sam Spade is a free agent, acting on his own free will. Is there any sense of conflict between individual action and collective action in this novel?

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