FalconOur group had a fun time talking about this book. Joan had recently watched the movie for the first time and was impressed by how closely it followed the book. A key difference was that in the book, Spade is continually described as having yellow skin, wolfish teeth and other generally devilish qualities. Humphrey Bogart didn’t really look like this, but he pulled off the cynical, hard-edged qualities of the character admirably.

Gossip and trivia about the author, the movie and the actors were presented, much to group’s amusement.

A number of discussion questions were offered and we generally decided that this book is essentially “Patient Zero” when it comes to the hard-boiled detective mystery genre. The characters were archetypes and clichés, but entertaining nevertheless. The over-the-top use of adverbs and cheesy noir stuff was a little distracting, but it was the cheese that kept us reading.

For instance, in one scene Brigid actually “…put the back of a hand on her forehead” and said ‘Oh, why do you accuse me of such a terrible–?'” You’ve just got to love it!

Favorite characters were Effie and Sam. People enjoyed not liking Sam and they felt he had no moral code.

Least favorite characters were the Fat Man, though he was well-described; Brigid (talk about a lack of moral code!), and Archer.