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Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade,
edited by Richard Layman

  • 2006 Edgar Award nominee as Best Critical/Biographical book of the year!
  • Selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of 10 books recommended as Christmas gifts for mystery fans.
  • Selected by the Los Angeles Times as one of 10 recommended gifts for movie buffs.
  • Selected by Thrilling as one of 9 books recommended as Christmas gifts for private eye fans.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "A treasure beyond price for fans of both the classic Hammett novel and the three (that's right, three) film versions of the doomed quest for a black bird. An incredible amalgam of photos, memos, letters, reviews, whatever, this will make fans of the book or the film gasp as one unexpected delight succeeds another. With this book, wonders really do never cease."

Otto Penzler, New York Sun: "An extraordinary book, [it] includes 250 illustrations and was edited by the world's pre-eminent Hammett scholar, Richard Layman. It is a giant treasure box, filled with pictures, lists, articles, and more than you thought you wanted to know about what is arguably the single greatest detective novel of all time. … It's like a giant box of assorted chocolates…there is so much alluring stuff in this giant grab-bag that it must be fattening."

Midwest Book Review: "Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, selections of Hammett's pre-publication material, copies of news articles and other primary sources, and much more, Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade is a 'must-read' for mystery movie trivia buffs and anyone else curious about the history behind a legendary 'hard boiled PI' adventure story."

Thrilling "Explores the legacy of Hammett and includes just about everything you always wanted to know (and plenty you didn't know you wanted to know) about Sam Spade and the Black Bird's various incarnations from Black Mask to best seller to film, radio, television, and beyond. Includes documents, photos, and memorabilia about the book and movies (all three of 'em), plus a full account of Hammett's detective career, a bibliography, and about a zillion other treasures, the perfect gift for fans of Sam Spade and Hammett."

Michael Rogers, Library Journal: (Starred review) "This one-stop resource is a … dream. Highly recommended."

Tom Nolan, Los Angeles Times: "Amply and inventively illustrated, [it] holds a wealth of source material. There are too many other highlights in this marvelous reference work to list, let alone describe. [The novel and films are] superbly documented and appreciated by this unsurpassed reference tribute."

Bob Cornwell, CADS Crime and Detective Stories: "[A] delightful and highly recommended compilation. It would be impossible to better the fabulous wealth of material in this book."

Lorri Amsden, Booknews: "Layman, a noted Hammett scholar who won an Edgar nomination for editing Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett, 1921-1960, has put together Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade, a veritable feast of documents, photographs, and original source material for the classic book and the John Huston film with Humphrey Bogart."

Gary Lovisi, Hardboiled: "Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade, edited by Richard Layman, is a glorious celebration of the tough private eye and the greatest hard-boiled book ever written."

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Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade is the second title in The Ace Performer Collection, a series of books by and about Dashiell Hammett, crowned "the ace performer" by his disciple Raymond Chandler.

Oversized 7 x 10 paperback. More than 250 black & white and color photographs and illustrations; 376 pages. Edited by Richard Layman. Publication date September 7, 2005, $19.95, ISBN 0-9725898-6-4.

You can order Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade from your local mystery bookstore, your local independent bookstore, and all major bookstores and online booksellers.

Booksellers order from Independent Publishers Group (IPG), (800) 888-4741, fax (312) 337-5985,

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