The Maltese Falcon
Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?
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After spells as newsboy, freight clerk, labourer, messenger, stevedore and advertising manager, Hammett became an operative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. His experiences as a private detective laid the foundation for his writing career. He died in 1961.