The Maltese Falcon
by Dashiell Hammett (1894 – 1961)
Type of Work:
Detective mystery novel
San Francisco; 1920s
Sam Spade, a young hard-boiled detective
Miles Archer, Spades older partner Brigid OShaughnessy, a beautiful young woman (alias Miss Wonderly)
Joel Cairo, an effeminate gangster-type
Casper Gutman, a rotund, older man
Iva Archer, Archers wife and Spades mistress
Effie Perine, secretary to private detective Sam Spade, opened his door to announce that a client, Miss Wonderly, was there to see him. A stunning young woman entered and shyly took a seat. She stammered and bit her lip as she tried to relate her story. Finally the detective assured her it would be best to begin at the beginning. Miss Wonderly said that she was concerned for her seventeen-year-old sister, who had run off with an older man named Thursby. She had arranged a meeting with Thursby for that evening, and now wanted to hire a detective to follow him from the meeting – straight to her sister, she hoped.
Spade gave his partner, Miles Archer, the details of Miss Wonderlys case. She paid them two hundred dollars, and left with the agreement that Archer would tail Thursby that evening.
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