Literary Precedents for The Maltese Falcon

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The Maltese Falcon is considered by most critics to be Hammett's best detective novel, although some literary experts prefer The Glass Key (1931). The novel shows the writer at his most original, having abandoned the idolatrous first- person narration of a minor character found in the classic detective story for the more sober, objective third-person perspective. The novel is also more homogeneous, due in part to the fact that it is not nearly as much a product of the amalgamation of several short stories. Abandoning the often gratuitous and numbing violence of Red Harvest, Hammett here focuses on deceit and illusion as the dominant factors in modern life.

Stylistically, The Maltese Falcon and the next novel The Glass Key bear great similarities to the novels and stories of Ernest Hemingway. The terse, short declarative sentences, the lack of authorial and narrative commentary are equal to the best of Hemingway's...

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This section contains 206 words
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Buy The Maltese Falcon Study Guide
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The Maltese Falcon from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.