Welcome to Spade and Archer detective agency. One day a gorgeous woman came in asking to help tracking her sister who ran away with a bad guy. The down payment was good, so the detectives took the case, no questions asked. As the direct result one of the detectives - Sam Spade - got to experience all of the traditional noir fun while readers follow ever-twisting plot.
I said it countless times before and I will say it again: Sam Spade is the
grandfather of all PIs in all noir, in particular all Californian PIs - Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe included. Dashiell Hammett created the genre and most of its tropes. Speaking about them - this was my reread of the book and this time I was trying to count them as they appear. For those doubting Hammett's paternity of noir I can say the following. I found them all
in here. I might miss something, but every single major trope is present.
Does it show its age? Yes, a little. Is it still fun to read? You bet it is. In fact this book - along with Red Harvest by the same author - is responsible for my love of noir, just like in several generations of readers before me. It is most probably a safe bet to say that Sam Spade made Philip Marlowe possible. While Hammett's prose is not as stylish as Chandler's - nobody's prose is - it is still quite good and does not feel antique.
My rating is 4 stars
, exactly the same as it was during my first read; recommended to any noir fan, just for historical value if nothing else.