The Maltese Falcon (1930) by Dashiell Hammett, Alfred A.Knopf. First edition. Original dust jacket.
The Maltese Falcon defines the American conception of the private eye, Sam Spade, of the femme fatale, Brigid O’Shaughnessy, and of the hard-boiled style. It is a prognosticator of the personal and professional toughness that would be necessary in the Depression and after, and its famous “objective” point of view is a tour de force of technique.
"My way of learning is to heave a wild and unpredictable monkey-wrench into the machinery.” ― Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon