Ah, the stuff that dreams are made of. The Maltese Falcon. What a great book made into a great movie (since the book was lifted for the film just about in its entirety ). I love this. This became the roadmap for my own medieval noir series. When I was trying to figure out how to write a medieval mystery, one that would satisfy my need to write some adventure, violence, and sex in a medieval setting, I dissected Mr. Hammett's masterpiece. Literally. And the thing that really made it fall into place for me, was the black bird. Yeah, that McGuffin. For me, it morphed into a religious relic or other such object for Crispin to encounter (who is Crispin? Jeesh, you should know by now. You should be going to his blog to get into his head. But if you want the quick once over, I'd have to say that Crispin Guest as a character falls somewhere between Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, Raymond Chandler's Phillipe Marlowe, and Leslie Charteris's Simon Templar.)
And it's worked out pretty well so far. The relic angle, that is. And as an added kick, St. Martin's has bought the second book in the series, Serpent in the Thorns (The legendary Crown of Thorns is brought to England as a peace offering...or is it instead a French assassination plot against England's King Richard II? When Crispin becomes the prime suspect, he must find the true assassin before he falls prey to the king's justice) so we are happily on our way.
But for all things Maltese Falcon-wise and Hammettesque, you must go here to Jeff Pierce's January Magazine 75th anniversary tribute to The Maltese Falcon. He's got a really fantastic collection of archival articles and his own snappy repartee. Don't be fooled by imitations. Get the real skinny on the black bird or you might end up with a fake. That ain't the stuff dreams are made of.