Readaholics read the Maltese Falcon

The Readaholics Read The Maltese Falcon

Readaholics read the Maltese FalconPart of the fun of writing a series about a mystery book club is selecting the books they get to read. For a variety of reasons, I decided that Amy-Faye and her friends would mostly read classic mysteries. Mainly, I wanted an excuse to immerse myself in the best of the genre and call it “work.” I confess that apart from reading an Agatha Christie or two, and the occasional Dorothy Parker or Ngaio Marsh, I was shockingly ignorant about my genre’s forebears, the books that were its foundation.

Why The Maltese Falcon?

I chose The Maltese Falcon as the Readaholics’ first book because it’s iconic (everyone recognizes the name and knows vaguely what it’s about), it’s got a twisty plot with lots of bits that I could work into the mystery the Readaholics are solving, and it’s got a cast of characters guaranteed to spark discussion in any book club. Dashiell Hammett’s focus on gesture and action to reveal emotion is very Hemingwayesque, and it gives the Readaholics another tool for “reading” the suspects they interview; they can divine a lot by paying attention to the smallest gesture.

The Maltese Falcon on Film

Poster - Maltese FalconAdditionally, there’s a great movie version of The Maltese Falcon and the Readaholics have a fun time watching it and comparing it to the book. One of the questions I get asked most frequently is what actors I would cast in a movie version of my books, so it’s fun to see Sam Spade and Brigid O’Shaughnessy come to life. Some of the Readaholics agree with that casting, and some don’t, which again makes for a lively discussion, one in which I hope readers will take part (in their heads or by leaving comments on my blog).

The Maltese Falcon Statue as McGuffin

Finally, I wanted to introduce the idea of a “McGuffin,” which is a term Alfred Hitchcock coined to mean a plot device in the form of a goal, desired object, or other motivation that seems to be at the center of a story, but often turns out to be totally incidental. In The Maltese Falcon, the actual statue of the bird never even turns up. I foresee many murder investigations in the Readaholics’ future (hopefully!), and I know that they’ll need to discern between a McGuffin and the real issue on more than one occasion.

The Readaholics aren’t alone in thinking The Maltese Falcon worth reading; the Wall Street Journal book club recently undertook to read and discuss the book. See what the facilitator has to say about it.

Those of you who are more well read in classic mysteries than I am (which is most of you), please let me know what other books the Readaholics should discuss in the future!

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Author of the Swift Investigations, Mall Cop, and Readaholics mystery series. Ex-Air Force intelligence officer, now a full-time writer. Spying was easier.

12 thoughts on “The Readaholics Read The Maltese Falcon”

  1. Glad you picked Orient Express for the second book. Iconic, accessible, crazy Christie at her best.

    Aside from Christie and Conan Doyle, I’ve not delved into much of the early mystery/detective novels. Apparently “The 39 Steps” by John Buchan is a good, classic read.

    Thanks for the fun!

  2. Laura, I loved The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco, and I can’t wait to read the next one. My favorite classic mystery authors are Dorothy Sayers and P.D. James.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Cindy. I’m sure the Readaholics will get around to reading both a Sayers and a James book (I adore PD James–so sad she died), if the series goes long enough. Fingers crossed!

  3. liked your new series– love the idea of revisiting old classics
    any plans for extending your other series?

    1. Would love to extend both my Mall Cop and Swift Investigations series, but right now my publishers are not interested in buying more books in either of them. 🙁 Hopefully, some day!

  4. CommentI have really gotten into your books, am so enjoying reading them and passing them on to friends and family. Can’t wait for more Readoholics and Swift books.! Please keep on writing.

    1. Hi, Susan. Thanks very much for your kind words. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Amy-Faye and the Readaholics. I’ve already written two more in that series, and I plan to continue their adventures. Re the Swift books, unfortunately, my publisher isn’t interested in buying any more, so I don’t know when or if there’s be another Charlie and Gigi story.

  5. Comment 2-11-17 Someone passed on some of your “Swift Investigations” and “Readaholics” books. LOVE them! Just finished “Close Call”, never would have guessed the ending. And, looks like there may be a squeal?

    1. Hi, Barb. So pleased you enjoyed my books. Glad I was able to keep you guessing with CLOSE CALL. There’s not a sequel to that, at least not yet. I have another standalone suspense novel coming in Sep, THAT LAST WEEKEND, but it’s not related to CLOSE CALL.

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