The Maltese Falcon
Approx. 84,000 words
Notable lines and passages
Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down-from high flat temples-in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.
— First lines
"You’re a damn good man, sister," he said and went out.
She suddenly moved close to him on the settee and cried angrily: "Can I buy you with my body?"
"I distrust a man that says when. If he's got to be careful not to drink too much it's because he's not to be trusted when he does."
"Listen. This isn't a damned bit of good. You'll never understand me, but I'll try once more and then we'll give it up. Listen. When a man's partner is killed he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it. Then it happens we were in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed it's bad business to let the killer get away with it. It's bad all around—bad for that one organization, bad for every detective everywhere. Third, I'm a detective and expecting me to run criminals down and then let them go free is like asking a dog to catch a rabbit and let it go. It can be done, all right, and sometimes it is done, but it's not the natural thing."
"Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That kind of reputation might be good business—bringing in high-priced jobs and making it easier to deal with the enemy."
"I won't play the sap for you."
"If they hang you I'll always remember you."
Spade, looking at his desk, nodded almost imperceptibly. "Yes," he said, and shivered. "Well, send her in."