The Maltese Falcon | Study Guide

Dashiell Hammett

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Study Guide
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Course Hero. "The Maltese Falcon Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 July 2017. Web. 19 Nov. 2018. <>.

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The Maltese Falcon | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Day 1

    Miss Wonderly hires Spade and Miles Archer to follow Floyd Thursby.

    Chapter 1
  • That night

    Thursby and Miles are both murdered.

    Chapter 2
  • Later

    Brigid admits that she's Miss Wonderly; Spade tells her he knows that she lied.

    Chapter 3
  • Day 2

    Joel Cairo asks Spade to help him find the Maltese falcon statuette.

    Chapter 4
  • Later that day

    Brigid, Cairo, and Spade have a physical altercation at Spade's apartment; the police arrive.

    Chapter 7
  • Soon after

    The police enter when Cairo cries out; Spade persuades Cairo to make them leave.

    Chapter 8
  • Later that night

    Brigid tells Spade partial information about the statuette; they have sex.

    Chapter 9
  • Day 3

    Iva Archer tells Spade the police visited him because she implicated him in Miles's murder.

    Chapter 11
  • Soon after

    Spade meets Gutman to bargain about the statue; they can't make a deal; Spade storms out.

    Chapter 11
  • Later

    Brigid disappears; Spade crushes Wilmer Cook's hands and takes his guns.

    Chapter 12
  • Soon after

    Gutman offers Spade money to find the statuette, then drugs him; Wilmer beats him.

    Chapter 13
  • The next day

    Spade conjectures that Brigid gave Captain Jacobi the statuette in Hong Kong.

    Chapter 14
  • Day 4

    Captain Jacobi gives Spade the falcon, then dies in his office.

    Chapter 16
  • That night

    Spade hides the falcon in the parcel room of a sleeper bus terminal.

    Chapter 17
  • Later

    Spade and Brigid find Gutman, Cairo, and Wilmer waiting at Spade's apartment.

    Chapter 17
  • Soon after

    Spade convinces Gutman to let Wilmer take the fall for Thursby and Jacobi's murders.

    Chapter 18
  • Day 5

    Effie delivers the statuette. They all discover it is a fake.

    Chapter 19
  • That night

    Wilmer is arrested for murdering Thursby, Jacobi, and Gutman.

    Chapter 20
  • Soon after

    Spade makes sure Brigid is arrested for Miles's murder.

    Chapter 20

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The Maltese Falcon is set in San Francisco in the 1920s. It takes place over a five-day period. The office secretary, Ef... Read More
Chapter 2 Spade's phone rings while he's asleep, and he learns Miles Archer is dead. He dresses and takes a taxi to the scene, whe... Read More
Chapter 3 Iva Archer is waiting in Spade's office when he arrives at 10:00 a.m. They hug and kiss, and Iva asks him if he killed M... Read More
Chapter 4 Spade goes to Miss Wonderly's apartment, where she tells him she has a "terrible confession to make." The story she told... Read More
Chapter 5 Joel Cairo, the Levantine, checks Spade for a gun. In the process Spade lifts his elbow and strikes Cairo in the face, k... Read More
Chapter 6 While outside, Spade notices an "undersized youth" in his early 20s standing on his corner. He follows Spade to the Hote... Read More
Chapter 7 Spade tells Brigid the story of a wealthy man named Flitcraft who disappeared one day without a trace, leaving behind a ... Read More
Chapter 8 The police enter the apartment when they hear Cairo's scream. Brigid is in the armchair and Cairo is standing over her, ... Read More
Chapter 9 After the police leave Spade breaks down and is consumed with rage, talking "in a harsh guttural voice." He curses Dundy... Read More
Chapter 10 Brigid and Spade have sex, and she spends the night. While she is asleep Spade takes her key and searches her apartment ... Read More
Chapter 11 After Spade sends Brigid to Effie's house, Casper Gutman calls and requests that Spade come to his hotel. Iva walks into... Read More
Chapter 12 Spade goes to Sid Wise's office after Iva has been to see him. Sid reveals Iva followed Miles the night he was killed. S... Read More
Chapter 13 When Spade arrives at Gutman's apartment he hands him two guns and says the boy shouldn't be running "around with these.... Read More
Chapter 14 Spade arrives at his office at 6 a.m. and finds Effie asleep at her desk. She explains she stayed there because Spade ha... Read More
Chapter 15 Spade has lunch with Polhaus, who confirms that Thursby shot Miles because his gun matched the bullet found in Miles's b... Read More
Chapter 16 Spade returns to his office, and a new client is waiting to see him. He hires Spade to see if his cashier and doorman ar... Read More
Chapter 17 Spade goes to Pickwick Stage terminal and leaves the bird in the Parcel Room. He mails the check for the package to a Sa... Read More
Chapter 18 Spade tells Gutman his daughter's body is "too nice to be scratched up with pins." Spade explains he has the falcon and ... Read More
Chapter 19 Gutman announces "in exchange for the ten thousand dollars and Wilmer," Spade will give them the falcon. Before Wilmer c... Read More
Chapter 20 Five minutes after the three men leave, Spade calls Polhaus. Spade tells him he has the guns Wilmer used to kill Thursby... Read More
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