The Maltese Falcon
By Dashiell Hammett
Samuel Spade is a detective confronted with the job of finding a solid gold falcon for a man named Cairo. He has an assistant named Effie Perine, and a partner named Miles Archer. Spade is not married, but is suspected of having a secret relationship with Miles's wife. he smokes very often, and has a bad relationship with the police department.
In the beginning of the story, Sam is characterized as a very robotic, confident person interested only in money. When his partner Miles dies, he shows little emotion. He always puts himself before others and lives a very cautious lifestyle, placing newspapers around his bedroom at night as a makeshift alarm for any intruders. By the end of the story, Sam turned in Brigid O'Shaughnessy to the police for accidentally killing Miles, even after developing a relation with her.
One theme for the story is Greed. Most of the actions the characters make are caused by their desire for wealth. The only reason Sam went after the Falcon is because Cairo offered him five thousand dollars to deliver the falcon to him. When Sam learns that the falcon is actually worth two million dollars he abandons Cairo, and accepts an offer from a man named Gutman who offers him five hundred thousand dollars for the falcon. A total of three people were killed because they wanted the falcon for themselves.
Praise or Pan
I praise The Maltese Falcon because it is an easy book to understand and always keeps you on the edge of your seat. It has an incredibly satisfying conclusion when the whole mystery ties itself up, and it never stops throwing surprises at you. Its very easy to get sucked into the book because you want to see what happens next.