Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon

Joe Gores, Author Knopf $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-26464-0

Edgar-winner Gores has not only pulled off the Herculean task of writing a prequel to The Maltese Falcon but also created a rip-roaring yarn of his own that will please even the crustiest of Hammett devotees. In 1921, Samuel Spade leaves the Continental Detective Agency and opens up his own office. One of his first cases, which the local cops have bungled, involves the robbery of $125,00 worth of gold coins from the San Anselmo , a passenger ship. Gores cuts forward twice, to 1925 and 1928, along the way setting the iconic Spade off on various adventures throughout the Bay Area. The author, who does a brilliant job of bringing Prohibition-era San Francisco to life with street-level detail and a native's perspective, also captures Hammett's spare style and tone perfectly. The only thing missing is a real femme fatale, but Gores, himself a former PI, gives us a number of young beauties to keep Spade busy until Miss Wonderly finally appears at his door. 5-city author tour. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
Open Ebook - 207 pages - 978-0-307-27148-8
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