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Extended Audio Sample The Maltese Falcon Audiobook, by Dashiell Hammett Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (9 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dashiell Hammett Narrator: A Full Cast Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Audio Theater Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN: 9781455191598
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“Don’t be too sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be. That kind of reputation might be good business.”—Samuel Spade, private investigator

“Spade…is what most of the private detectives I worked with would like to have been and in their cockier moments thought they approached.”—Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon first appeared in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929. Almost immediately it was acknowledged as not only a great crime novel but an enduring masterpiece of American fiction. Sam Spade, its protagonist, is the archetypal tough, cynical PI, “able,” as his creator explained, “to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent bystander or client.” And what a client!—the irresistible and treacherous femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

Believing the book’s vividly drawn characters and memorable dialogue cry out for theatrical treatment, Blackstone Audio commissioned this faithful dramatization by the award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear, in which a brilliant cast brings to life all the excitement and suspense of Hammett’s original in the playhouse of the mind.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hammett’s prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction.”

    New York Times

  • The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well-written novel.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Dashiell Hammett…is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer.”

    Boston Globe

  • “As edge-of-one’s-seat captivating today as it was eighty years ago, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon is a classic that hard-boiled mystery buffs everywhere are sure to enjoy.”

    Midwest Book Review

  • “The classic noir story is given new life with this full-cast adaptation.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “They’re all here—Sam Spade, the streetwise detective; the gorgeous but dangerous dame; the squirrelly guy; and the fat man—all chasing an elusive statue of a mythical bird across the most American of literary landscapes, fog-bound San Francisco in the 1920s. Few novels have been more “noir”—or more influential. With fine talents like Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh, and Edward Herrmann, Blackstone Audio and the Hollywood Theater of the Ear have created a taut, well-paced audio production, drawn directly from the novel, first serialized in Black Mask magazine in 1929. All of Hammett’s signature descriptions and stylish dialogue are at the forefront. Sexy, darkly comic, and broodingly moral, The Maltese Falcon is like a jolt of bourbon—it wakes you up and keeps you listening.”

    AudioFile

  • “Wow! Whether or not you’ve read Hammett’s classic noir detective novel or seen the 1941 movie, you will be entranced by this magnificent adaptation, which is a solid reminder of the power of audio…In this mystery rich in characters, the actors show an impeccable understanding of their roles…Voices and sounds combine with a dramatically fashioned script to create a stellar listening experience with a you-are-there feel. Those who have never experienced the pleasures of radio theater are in for a tremendous treat, as are all who experience this amazing production.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • Winner of the Audie Award for Best Audiobook Adaptation
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2009 AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for Mystery
  • A Booklist Top 10 Crime Fiction Audiobook
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, March 2009
  • A 2009 Grammy Award Nominee for Best Spoken Word Album for Adults

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Piput | 1/21/2014

    " I couldn't finish this book. I think its plot's reputation preceded the book and set my expectation too high. But when I read it, it's not as engaging as I'd hope. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh Wong | 12/25/2013

    " Enjoyed this book! A great page turner! Will have you reading for hours on end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fredrick Danysh | 12/21/2013

    " Unorthodox detective Sam Spade gets involved in search of a treasure worth committing murder for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/21/2013

    " Very well written detective fiction "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dyan Barbeau | 12/2/2013

    " I listened to this book as a audio drama, with sound effects and different actors playing the characters. I found this somewhat annoying, but the story was good. It was also short, which was a reminder that books don't have to be 400 pages to be good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beverly Woodcock | 10/5/2013

    " Old fashioned type of mystery with no gore. Very good characterizations of the main characters which are sometimes lacking in modern mystery novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kir | 9/30/2013

    " Great novel. Glad that I'm a female human now though, and not in the first half of the 20th century. Clearly we had a bum rap for being calculating, lying, slimy bitches. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthiathompson | 9/27/2013

    " Quick read with great characters and even better dialogue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Meehan | 9/21/2013

    " Great, snappy dialogue throughout. Quick read, enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vince | 9/12/2013

    " Reallly good book - good story - good characters - not what a contempary private detective would be marketable as I think. I recommend it but warn younger forks not to look too hard or at all for technology. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mara | 5/27/2013

    " Okay, I get the hard-boiled detective thing, but I just didn't care about any of the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blaine Ney | 4/11/2013

    " I liked the book, but I never knew Spade was such an asshole. I can't wait to see Bogart take on the role. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malcolm Mccallum | 4/2/2013

    " Remarkably good book with all the fun and cleverness of the movie there on the page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison W. | 1/18/2013

    " Wow, this was great! Sam Spade is much more of a jerk than Bogart made him seem in the movie and Peter Lorrie was absolutely PERFECT as Cairo. And, with that said - the book is really great!! I didn't want to put it down (and, I'm not a big fan of the genre of mysteries). Fantastic, really. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renata Kowalczuk | 12/30/2012

    " Excellent mystery drama. Well written and exciting. My only issue was the machismo of the main character. Too much! He makes James Bond look like a wimp. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Shamblin | 9/23/2012

    " A classic. Oddly enough it felt like I was reading a 1930s version of The Rockford Files. Perhaps, in a way I was, seeing how this book helped define the hard nosed P.I. genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kingfan30 | 6/8/2012

    " I got on much better with this one than with The Glass Key. It gripped me from the start, lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing right till the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kindra | 11/19/2011

    " I'm glad that this classic was my first murder mystery read. Reminds me a lot of Walter Mosley's reads. But maybe only because they're mysteries too? OK, I should shut up. Good, enticing read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Baldock | 11/8/2011

    " I thought that it was an interesting book. although I would not reccomend it to everyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jasonchicks | 6/23/2011

    " I love this book. The hard-boiled private investigator seems kind of cheesey and trite these days -- especially after listening to Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir. But Sam Spade is a very interesting and deep character, and a total bad ass. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 6/19/2011

    " Ultra-classic hard-boiled private detective story. What's not to like? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrez | 6/17/2011

    " Classic stuff from Hammett. Read several times over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zach | 6/12/2011

    " A very enjoyable read. Hammett's writing is punchy and unique. The conventions of the detective story are presented with authority and mastery, which makes everything else in the genre (with the exception of Chandler) seem amaturish in comparison. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 6/11/2011

    " I actually couldn't finish this completely because I didn't care for the writing at all and the main character was so annoying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel | 6/7/2011

    " As terrific as it was the first time I read it. Screened the 1941 John Huston film in class this morning. Bogart genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 6/7/2011

    " Hardboiled detective fiction at its finest. Sam Spade is just unique enough (from Philip Marlowe and the Continental Op, for example) to keep things interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 6/7/2011

    " Thought I should read Dashiell Hammett sometime. Very disappointing; kind of had to slog through it. Hope the movie is better. (Did I really say that??) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 April | 6/4/2011

    " I've read it twice and it is so fresh despite being decades old and done to death (pun intended) everywhere. More like a beloved painting that you can watch forever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MG | 6/3/2011

    " BBC presented The Maltese Falcon in more of a radio play format. I enjoyed listening in. It made me miss the movie. If you like old radio plays and good noir, I think you will love this format. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 6/3/2011

    " A classic mystery/detective novel by Dashiell Hammett. This is exactly the type of story you'd expect from the greats of this era. Hardboiled, good pacing, and well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emilie | 5/26/2011

    " OK - too confusing for too long, never got into it. "

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About the Author
Author Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett (1894–1961) was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He is widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time. In addition to The Maltese Falcon, his pioneering novels include Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man (1934).