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The Falcon’s Malteser Anthony Horowitz

Default Smiles The Falcon’s Malteser reads like a script for a stand up comedy show. The description of every place, every person, every situation, is a setup for a joke about how extreme the situation is. You know the kind. The guy trying to kill us was so thin you couldn’t see him sideways. My brother is handsome from across the street on a foggy day. With my pocket money I can’t even afford pockets. It’s an incredibly silly, cartoony style of comedy and it’s great. But before you start thinking this is just a cartoony comedy, there ARE a fair amount of people getting shot in this story.
Surprised Sharky Shot… at?
Surprised Smiles Shot at. And then just shot.
Surprised Sharky
Default Smiles So now imagine you’re the little brother of a private eye. Except your big brother… isn’t the smartest private eye in the world. He’s not even in the top fifty. You’re the one noticing suspicious things and asking the important questions. Which predictably gets you into very, very big trouble. If only you’d kept your mouth shut. But then we wouldn’t have a story, would we?
Default Sharky It starts when a strange man comes to your office and asks you to hold a package for him. And obviously, a lot of dangerous people want to get their hands on that package.
Angry Smiles 2 It’s never a nice package. Like some chocolates or a nice card. It’s aaaaalways something sinister that makes scary people come after you. Because it turns out this package belonged to the greatest criminal that ever lived, and all his rivals and past partners want it.
Confused Sharky … well it is technically chocolates. Maltesers.
Shocked Smiles It’s a cute pun because the criminal was called The Falcon and these are the Falcon’s Maltesers and it’s a play on the movie title ‘The Maltese Falcon’. It’s a fun way to reference something that the book is trying to copy the hardboiled thriller tone of. But more importantly why would chocolates make everyone want to kill you that’s horrible do you want to turn us off of chocolates forever?
Sassy Sharky Not that anyone could turn you off of chocolates.
Default Smiles Well no of course not. Anyway the point is that this Malteser box is apparently the map to the Falcon’s stash of diamonds, and a very powerful and dangerous criminal called The Fat Man is looking for it. So are The Falcon’s henchmen, and the Falcon’s wife. Also the Fat Man isn’t fat anymore, he’s been losing weight for health reasons but he still wears his old stuff and he looks frankly ridiculous. But still manages to be nicely sinister. And the henchmen are a little fussily dressed and colour co-ordinated with each other, but they’re pretty good at kidnapping and killing people. Most of the bullets flying around are their fault, if I remember right.
Confused Sharky Doesn’t our hero, the kid, leave a guy dangling off the edge of a high place to die?
Sad Smiles 2 … um. Well the guy tried to kill him first? Lots of people are trying to kill him, leave him alone.
Default Sharky What we’re saying is it can get a little dark. But it’s still a fun time if you go along with it. It’s called ‘A Diamond Brothers mystery’-
Happy Smiles Which first of all is such a cool name.
Happy Sharky2 It is. And predictably it isn’t the real name of the brothers in the story. Their name is Simple. But you can’t really be a hard-boiled detective in a world of intrigue, dark alleyways and guns with a name like Herbert Simple, right?
Happy Smiles Better change it to Tim Diamond. Man, I want to do that. Smiles Diamond.
Default Sharky Anyway, it’s called a mystery, but I wouldn’t really agree with that. You can see the plot twists coming almost as soon as they get set up. Or maybe we’ve just read way too many mysteries already before we got to this book.
Default Smiles Not that that’s a bad thing, because the story isn’t really trying to be this delicately balanced puzzle of mysteriousness. It’s a thriller. Things are mysterious only because you don’t know exactly who is trying to kill you. So figuring it out before the main character doesn’t spoil the fun, it just makes things more stressful as you can see things about to go wrong before they do. And for a thriller, that’s a bonus.
Happy Sharky2 That’s true. There’s never the sense that the mystery is obvious because it’s badly done. It’s just that we know too much about mystery and thriller tropes. It’s just obvious because of course she was the killer in disguise and so on. There’s a lot of ‘of course!’ going on in this book. Now I'll be honest, I didn't like the book at the start. The first few pages didn't feel like they'd be my thing. But Smiles started following me around with it reading it out loud, as he does, and it's not bad at all once the action gets going. So if you don't like the opening of it, don't be discourages.
Default Smiles There’s two sequels to this that we haven’t read, ‘Public Enemy Number Two’ and ‘South by Southeast’. I really hope they’ll be just as cartoony and full of ‘of course!’ as this one was. This is the first time we’ve reviewed a book without having read more in the series, so no promises they’ll be brilliant, but we’ll let you know as we go along. You can rely on the Diamond brothers.
Angry Sharky 3 We’re not calling ourselves the Diamond brothers.
smiles-intensifies But we could!
Angry Sharky 3 No.

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