Beams Falling

I have a piece today on the Guardian Books Blog about the ‘Flitcraft parable’ in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. I’ve been puzzling over this extraordinary digression for a while now–before Christmas I wrote a longer article on the subject which will appear in The Reader later this year–but what strikes me most of all re-reading the novel after maybe ten years is just how good Hammett is, in his dialogue, his plotting, and the sheer force of the writing.