Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Genre

By Dashiell Hammett

Genre

Mystery

The Maltese Falcon involves both the solution of a crime and the unraveling of secrets, so that smells a lot like the "Mystery" genre to us. Throughout the novel, Spade is forced to work his way through a web of lies, first with the double-crossing dame Brigid and then with the cunning crook Casper Gutman.

What starts off as the solving of two murder cases quickly escalates into a modern-day treasure hunt for the desirable Maltese falcon. Will the search end in success or wind up as a wild-goose chase? As we follow the characters in their pursuit after the black bird, we witness countless false leads, wrong turns, and red herrings, all of which heighten the obscure mystery surrounding this priceless statuette.

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