The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective

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Dashiell Hammett’s best-known character, Sam Spade, is the original hard-boiled private detective. He was portrayed by Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and the sardonic characterisation went on to influence the way we think of detectives, from Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe to Lieutenant Columbo.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back in America after the war but before rock ’n’ roll, Sam Spade became the subject of a long-running radio show. Hollywood star Howard Duff played the eponymous role to perfection, with Lurene Tuttle perfecting Spade’s sharp secretary Effie Perrine. All the noir tropes are here, from the wisecracks and the smoky jazz backing to the troubled genius at work. 

The stories are told partly as narration by Duff himself and partly as a dialogue between Spade and the motley crew of cheats and thieves who drove Spade’s clients through his frosted-glass door. Sarcasm, wit and atmosphere bleed from every perfectly delivered line. No wonder the show captivated America for five years and more than 200 episodes. And now they’ve been lovingly re-released on Audible to charm today’s generation with timeless storytelling. 

Whether you’re looking for nostalgia, are a lover of original crime fiction, or just want to listen to some perfectly crafted short crime and thriller stories, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective will not disappoint. Each audiobook has almost six hours’ worth of Spade at his best, more than enough to immerse yourself in the sublime characterisation and unmistakable San Francisco atmosphere that spawned a thousand imitations.

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