The Maltese Falcon is a 1930 detective novel by Dashiell Hammett, originally serialized in the magazine Black Mask. The story has been adapted several times for the cinema, most famously the 1941 adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.
The main character, Sam Spade, appears only in this novel and in three lesser known short stories, yet is widely cited as the crystallizing figure in the development of the hard-boiled private detective genre – Raymond Chandler's character Philip Marlowe, for instance, was strongly influenced by Hammett's Spade. Spade was a departure from Hammett's nameless detective, The Continental Op. Sam Spade combined several features of previous detectives, most notably his cold detachment, keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination to achieve his own justice.