The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett takes place in the 1930 s and has a variety of mysterious characters including: Sam Spade, Brigid O'Shaughhnessy, Joel Cairo, Mr. Gutman, and Wilmer. When O'Shaughnessy comes to Spade and asks him to shadow Thursby, the story takes off on rampage of events with seemingly no relevance until they are revealed in the end. The conflict that drives the story is the unknown location of the Maltese falcon, a golden falcon of immense value. All the actions and even fo the characters are driven by the desire to obtain the falcon or money from obtaining the falcon. While some characters are more more al than others, all of them have at least one fault which makes them untrustworthy: greed, stupidity, or all three.
The characters eliminate each other the story, either arrested or killed, until only Sap de is left unscathed. The book has three phases: definite misunderstanding, unknown misunderstanding and comprehension. In the first phase of the book, all the characters completely misunderstand each other. As the book progresses, the characters begin to believe that they have an understanding of each other, which complicates everyone's emotions.
Finally, the characters comprehend the previous emotions of the other characters and truly understand the events and the emotions of everyone. Later, Spade decides to have a meeting it O'Shbaughnessy and Cairo together. Befor e the meeting, Spade notices a young man shadowing him. HE temporarily forgets about it and goes to the meeting in his apartment. At the meeting Cairo and O'Shaughnesy briefly speak of a falcon, but the doorbell interrupts them.
Sam goes to the door greets two police detectives that are investigating the deaths of Thursby and Archer. The officers demand entry when they hear a scream and a shout from within, . When they reach the room of the scream, they find Cairo with a bloody face, holding a gun at O'Shaughnessy. In an attempt to allay suspicion, Spade says that it is a deliberate joke. The police leave Spade alone, but they take Cairo to the station for questioning.
Eventually, the mysterious young man, Wilmer confronts Spade and takes him to an apartment. HE brings Spade into a room where Mr. Gutman is sitting. They both ry to get information without giving information. Sam decides to arrange a meeting with Cairo, O'Shaughnessy, Gutman, and Wilmer. Before the meeting, the captain of the boat, La Paloma, arrives at Spade's office, injured but carrying what appears to be the Maltese falcon.
The captain dies, and Spade goes to the meeting where he slowly discovers information on the murders and the falcon. At the meeting they decide to give the police Wilmer as the murderer, but decide against it when they realize that they must go to Constantinople to get the falcon. Cairo, Gutman, and Wilmer leave the apartment, but O'Shaughnessy and Spade stay behind. Spade immediately notifies the police of Cairo, Gutman, and Wilmer. Later, the police arrive with news that Wilmer killed Gutman, and Wilmer and Cairo are under arrest. Spade hands O'Shaughnessy over to the police and then goes on with his life, seemingly oblivious of the events that had taken place.
The Maltese Falcon focuses on the themes of, discovery of truth, and greed. The internal conflict of the story is the need to discover the truth. The external conflict is getting the falcon or money, while staying alive. Though the story has an intricate plot, the plot by itself would create a rather bland tale. The story is developed through excellent character development. The novel is told in the third person, which makes the narrative into a more difficult mystery.
An interesting quality of the book is its meticulous attention to detail which creates an interesting, even creepy style and flow. The resolution of the story occurs when Spade calls the police and turns over Cairo, Wilmer, Gut mna, and O'Shaughnessy. The third person voice decreases emotional strength, yet the structure and detail of the story create powerful emotions while keeping key facts a mystery. The resolution of the book fits well with the story. It creates a powerful image of negotiation resulting in abrupt conclusions and actions. It termites the conflicts because the falcon that everyone was after is finally obtained, even though it is a replica.
Eventually, the facts are revealed truthfully. In addition, the falling action after the resolution proves that the conflict is resolved and produces a calm termination of action. The Maltese Falcon uses deception, discovery of truth, and greed to blend the internal and external conflicts so that they mesh together in an excellent result. The novel's character development is a masterpiece and, when added to the plot, produces stunning power in this timeless classic.