"The Maltese Elephant"  
Analog Aug1995.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Analog
Collected Counting Up, Counting Down
The Best of Harry Turtledove
Illustrator George H. Krauter
Genre(s) Detective story, parody
Publication date August, 1995

For the fictional film by the same title which was mentioned in passing in The Grapple, see The Maltese Elephant (Southern Victory Film).

"The Maltese Elephant" is Harry Turtledove's pastiche of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. It follows the same basic plot of Hammett's novel, only in short story form and the "macguffin" is a living, breathing elephant rather than a falcon statue. It was first published in Analog in August 1995 and was reprinted in the Harry Turtledove book of short stories, Counting Up, Counting Down in 2002 and in The Best of Harry Turtledove in 2021.

While the story is not alternate history, it is built on a "what if" question: What if Sam Spade, rather than his partner, Miles Archer, was murdered? As is typical, Turtledove makes liberal use of puns, as Miles Archer becomes Miles Bowman, and Sam Spade is Tom Trencher.

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