The maltese falcon chapter summary
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Samuel Spade is a private investigator who looks like a good-looking version of Satan, with his v-shaped facial features and yellow-grey eyes. His lanky and boyish-looking female assistant, Effie Perine, joins Spade’s private office and welcomes a new, glamorous client named Miss Wonderly. Effie exits the room as Spade rolls a cigarette, and Wonderly joins. Spade casually inquires about what he should do for Wonderly.
This definition portrays Spade as a villain, or at the very least as someone of dubious morals. Since Satan is the great deceiver in Christian history, the description foreshadows Spade’s many deceptions. Wonderly’s elegance is contrasted with Effie’s masculine-looking plainness in this scene.
Wonderly explains in disjointed phrases how her teenaged niece, Corinne, has run away to San Francisco with a man named Floyd Thursby, in a state of emotional distress. Wonderly claims she has come to San Francisco to hire Spade to locate her sister before their parents return from Europe in two weeks. Thursby has agreed to meet with Wonderly this evening to discuss Corinne, according to Wonderly.
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The Maltese Falcon is a short novel that moves along quickly and feels almost as brief as seeing Humphrey Bogart play world-weary private detective Sam Spade in the classic film adaptation. Most of the film adaptation—the third film adaptation of the book, by the way—includes scenes that have been left unchanged, as well as large pieces of dialogue that have been transferred verbatim from the paper to the screen. The biggest difference between the novel and the film is that Bogey’s Sam Spade is much more heroic than the trio of low-life treasure hunters who scheme and betray one another in search of the “things that dreams are made of.” In the book, Spade is obviously a better human being than those three…but only by a hair.
The plot begins with the assassination of Sam Spade’s private investigator partner, Miles Archer. Archer had been following one of the three oddly eccentric pursuers of an ancient statuette supposedly built by the Knights Templar as a gift for the King of Spain. Unfortunately for Archer, the chase has now come to San Francisco after taking the three to different exotic locations around the world. Miles Archer’s death, though exotic in its own right, is far from glamorous. Archer dies a miserable, lonely death similar to what he would have faced if the situation had been another nasty cheating spouse assignment.
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The Maltese Falcon is a mystery novel by American author Dashiell Hammett published in 1930. It was first serialized in the magazine Black Mask in September 1929. The story is told entirely in third-person external narration; no explanation of any character’s thoughts or feelings is provided, only what they say and do, and how they appear. The novel has been adapted for the screen many times.
Sam Spade, the main character (who later appeared in a few lesser-known short stories), was a departure from Hammett’s nameless detective, The Continental Op. Spade had a cool detachment, keen eye for detail, unflinching, often ruthless determination to achieve his own version of justice, and a total lack of sentimentality, which he contrasted with previous detectives. The novel was ranked 10th in the Crime Writers Association’s Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time list in 1990. The novel was ranked third in a similar list of Mystery Writers of America five years later.
In collaboration with Miles Archer, ‘Sam’ Spade is a private investigator in San Francisco. Miss Wonderley, a stunning woman, hires them to track down Floyd Thursby, who has absconded with her niece. Archer accepts the first assignment, but is found shot to death the next night. Later, Thursby is assassinated, and Spade is a suspect. The next morning, Spade tells his office clerk, Effie Perine, that the office door should be repainted with the words “Samuel Spade.”
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Spade quickly admits she has no sister and that her whole story was a lie when she arrives at Miss Wonderly’s hotel room. Spade responds that he accepted the case because she offered him money, not because he believed her story. After she admits that her real name is Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Spade offers to help her shield her identity from the cops in exchange for details about the murders.
Brigid is an outstanding athlete. Remember how she blushed even when her sister’s scandalous pregnancy was listed in Chapter 1? That sister didn’t exist at all. Despite Wonderly’s argument that her “true” name is Brigid, Spade has no reason to believe her. As of now, it appears that Spade will only continue to assist her in order for him to be compensated and/or locate Archer’s killer.
Rather than telling him the details, Brigid falls to her knees and begs for help. Spade speculates that she is attempting to trick him by delivering a scripted speech that makes her seem powerless. She reacts by apologizing for the lies she said about her fake sister, which she admits have made him distrustful of everything she says.