This is the first detecive novel I've read and if this is the best (or one of the best) books in the genre, then I am not impressed.
Sam Spade, a private detective, is the main character of the book and he's an asshole (pardon my French). It's ironic that on the back of my book he is described as "a private detective, a little old fashioned but with strong ethical principles". The reality is quite the opposite I'm afraid: Spade is a 100% macho man that only impresses light-minded women. He goes around teasing them and treating them like garbage, except of course when he needs their help. The rest of the characters are mediocre at best and they fit well with Spade's personality.
I can't comment much on the story in comparison to other similar books. I did like the twists in the end but this was not enough to make the book better. Sometimes it feels that the story is progressing too slow and the story only makes sense near the end of the book.
The book is silly sometimes, with mediocre or bad characters and thin story. Maybe it will please people that like the genre, but for me it was ok at best.