THE SCOTT GREENBAUM COLLECTION OF LITERARY FIRST EDITIONS
The Holy Grail of detective fiction
The Maltese Falcon, 1930
HAMMETT, Dashiell (1894-1961). The Maltese Falcon. New York: Knopf, 1930.
The first edition of one of the most influential detective novels ever written, in its iconic dust jacket, with a rare inscription from the author: "For Holly and Eric with my best regards Dashiell Hammett." Inscribed first edition copies of The Maltese Falcon are notoriously scarce; ABPC records only two in the past twenty years, and only one of them in the coveted jacket. The identities of Holly and Eric are unknown, but the latter is perhaps Eric Sutton, a prolific literary translator. Sutton began his career in the 1920s and translated the work of many important 20th-century writers, including B. Traven, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Maurois, François Mauriac, Thomas Mann, Hans Fallada, and Guy Mazaline. Hammett mentioned an unidentified Eric in a 3 November 1934 letter to Lillian Hellman, and would write later that month of reading Mazaline's The Wolves. First serialized in Black Mask beginning in September 1929, The Maltese Falcon introduced the world to Sam Spade, the archetypal hardboiled detective. Layman A3.1b.
Octavo. Original publisher's cloth (some minor soiling; light dampstain to upper margin of preliminary leaves); dust jacket (some restoration to spine, folds, and margin of panels; spine repairs replacing small areas of loss); custom box.