The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

American writer Dashiell Hammett wrote the classic novel The Maltese Falcon.

It was originally serialized, like many of Charles Dickens’ works, in the Black Mask magazine in 1929 to 30. The book was made into the classic film of the same name with actors Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Sydney Greenstreet and incredible Peter Lorre.

Sam Spade is the main character and practises as a private detective, in partnership with Miles Archer, in San Francisco.

A glamorous beauty, Miss Wonderly, hires them to follow a man called Floyd Thursby, who she says has run away with her sister. Archer sets off to follow Thursby, but winds up dead that night. He’d been shot. Next Thursby gets himself killed and the police suspect Spade.

Miss Wonderly is unmasked. She is actually called Brigid O’Shaughnessy. It transpires that she is  on the hunt for a very valuable black statue of a falcon. She is not the only one. A shady Greek called Joel Cairo and Casper Gutman are also after the falcon. Gutman has in his service, one Wilmer Cook, a young, volatile, gun-totting thug. O’Shaughnessy will not spill the beans to Spade, though she is desperate for his help.

I can’t tell you the rest as it would spoil such a wonderful plot.

It is a story which is full of mystery, intrigue and thrills set off with a touch of the exotic.

Dashiell Hammett wrote this best seller novel, The Maltese Falcon, while living at 891 Post Street in downtown San Francisco. He is one of the worlds finest writers of detective novels and his work endures.

There’s no escape by Ian Serraillier

Theres no escape by Ian Serraillier

Theres no escape by Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier  was born on 24 September 1912 and died on 28 November 1994. He was a British novelist and also a poet. Probably best known for his children’s books, he also wrote novels for adults such as There’s no escape which was published in 1956. . He was born in London and in 1918 his father died in the flu pandemic when he was six years old. He went on to be educated at Brighton College and next took his degree at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and becoming an English teacher.  He was granted conscientious objector status in World War II because he was a Quaker. His first children’s novel was published in 1946 and was quickly followed by several more adventure stories. His best known work,

In There’s no escape Maclaren, who is the chief of secret agents, arranged to parachute Peter into war-torn Silvania (nominally an unspecified county in the Balkans), where he was tasked with rescuing  Dr Helpmann before the enemy caught him and extracted information about his new discoveries. Peter agreed to go reluctantly.

This is a fast-moving adventure story by Ian Serraillier, set in wartime Europe with a dark cloud hanging over it. The book is an easy read which has a taut plot featuring parachutes, inventions and secret codes. One of the first books I ever read and many times since, re-read.

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The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall

The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall

The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall

This is one of the first adventure / spy novels I read and I became a firm fan of Quiller and Adam Hall.

The Quiller Memorandum which was also known as The Berlin Memorandum was written by Adam Hall in 1965.  Hall introduced Quiller in this book as a British intelligence officer in the very secret body known as ‘the Bureau’. Quiller was also said to have been in the secret services during World War II. The Bureau is a shady organisation whose purpose was originally to prevent any possible increaseo in German militarism, such as a fourth Reich.

Quiller was a specialist in Nazi clandestine organizations such as the ‘ratlines’ which were used by Nazis to escape trial. The book is set in the mid-sixties where Quiller is seconded by the Bureau to give secret intelligence information to the Z Commission which is West Germany’s war crimes investigatitive agency. Quiller is persuaded by the bureau to investigate the plans of a secret Nazi secret. He readily does so, as the Nazis have killed one of his friends.

Adam Hall was a wonderful writer of fiction. A classic read that is sure to enthrawl.

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