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The 100 best novels: 'The Maltese Falcon'
»Raymond Chandler, who owes so much to Hammett, deserves the last word. He said of The Maltese Falcon: «If you can show me 20 books written approximately 20 years back that have as much guts and life now, I’ll eat them between slices of Edmund Wilson’s head.» Nearly 100 years later, the «guts and life» of Hammett’s prose still puts some of his etiolated heirs to shame.«
— Robert McCrum

The 100 best novels: Robert McCrum selected The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett on the list of 100 best novels. Read his justification at

»The «hard-boiled» genre of detective fiction – tough realism with a vernacular dialogue; a focus on the less noble side of humanity – was defined for all time when Dashiell Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon, a multi-layered tale of greed and deceit.«

Will Hodgkinson

Dashiell Hammett’s drama was a ground-breaking work of detective fiction which paved the way for film noir, says Will Hodgkinson. His essay you will find at The Telegraph.