The Maltese Falcon is Missing

Well this is certainly news any crime buff dreads:

SAN FRANCISCO — Call in the coppers, get Sam Spade on the case: The Maltese Falcon’s gone again.


a missing-bird caper reminiscent of the one that perplexed Dashiell

Hammett’s fictional sleuth, the owner of a landmark restaurant here is

offering 25 Gs ($25,000) for a replica of the famed Maltese Falcon

swiped from a locked display case over the weekend.

John Konstin, the owner of John’s Grill, a nearly 100-year-old

restaurant with a museum dedicated to the crime novelist, said the

purloined plaster statuette and 15 rare books by and about Hammett that

were also stolen are emotionally priceless.


statue had historical significance to this restaurant and to the city,”

said Konstin, as he sat in a dining room framed by movie stills and

Hammett mementos. “People came from all over the world to see that

bird. And we want it back.”

Hammett used to frequent John’s —

and the falcon has been housed since 1995 in a wooden display case just

upstairs from booth 21, where, as the story goes, he wrote parts of the

1930 novel that introduced readers to Spade, the womanizing,

sly-talking gumshoe.

“He came here a lot, he drank a lot, hung

out a lot,” Konstin said of Hammett, who died in 1961. “Sam Spade ate

here as well. One scene was set at the restaurant.”

Konstin, who has owned the replica falcon since 1994, wonders if it’s a timing issue: Hammett’s novel was published on Valentine’s Day. “Maybe that has something to do with the thief’s timing,” Konstin

said. “Maybe they didn’t do their homework and thought they got one of

the original statues.”