Everyone, I think, knows this story. The Humphrey Bogart movie made from this book is a cinematic classic. So, too, is this book. In fact, the movie was very true to the book, right down to the dialogue.
A former private detective himself, Hammett's writing style is precise and without waste, as if he were simply writing a case report. This so different from Raymond Chandler's colorful, wise-cracking style. But for Hammett's Sam Spade, it works.