Spade & Archer: A Book Review

“Jo Marshall, Dashiell Hammett’s only surviving daughter, in 2006 said ‘Yes!’ to a prequel to the The Maltese Falcon. Jo gave me not only her blessings and inspiration but also the idea (and the research) for much of part III of the novel. Vince Emory let me write the introduction to Hammett’s Lost Stories, then shared his vast knowledge of San Francisco and Hammett with me. A history of the coroner’s office from 1850 to 1960 gave me the idea for part II.”

Ten stars. Ten.

This is so well researched and written, so atmospheric. Naturally worked into the story, we find a wealth of details about San Fran in the 20s: how people dressed (including disguises), what they ate, and how much it cost. (They ate well, and for cheap!) There are ferryboats and fishing boats, there are foghorns, there is lots and lots of fog. There are immigrant communities: Greek, “Portugee,” Chinese, and German. Stuff happens that will rip your heart out, and Spade reacts to it in his characteristic hard-boiled way. Twists are many, revenge is sweet. This book covers the years 1921 to 1928.

3 thoughts on “Spade & Archer: A Book Review

  1. Does Gores have an extensive bibliography? I’ve never heard of him (that’s not actually that much, but you know….) and just am wondering what it is that set him apart enough for the daughter to let him proceed.

    Liked by 1 person

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