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Reader's Den: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - Week 2

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Welcome back to the New York Public Library's Reader's Den, a monthly online book discussion. For August, we are reading Dashiell Hammett's novel, The Maltese Falcon, as part of Mystery Summer.

In chapters 6-10, Sam Spade is very busy. Iva Archer is begging to see him. While Sam is trying to figure out how much of the truth Brigid O'Shaughnessy is telling, their relationship seems to become more intimate. Sam discovers a young man tailing him around town. He sets up a meeting with Brigid and Joel Cairo to see if he can learn anything from their interaction. The police show up because they still suspect Sam murdered Miles Archer and/or Floyd Thursby and he has to think quickly to come up with a "story" to explain Brigid and Joel's actions.

Questions:

  1. What is the significance of the Flitcraft story (pp. 62-64)?
  2. Do Brigid, Iva and Effie have anything in common? What is Sam's relationship with the three women?
  3. Do the characters have different motivations for wanting the falcon? What are they?

Please comment below to join the discussion. Next week we'll review chapters 11-15.

If you are just joining us, catch up on the first post.

If you've already figured out who murdered Archer and Thursby, don't tell me. I haven't yet!

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