Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Chapter 11

By Dashiell Hammett

Chapter 11

The Fat Man

  • After Spade sends Brigid off to Effie's house, the telephone rings. It's none other than Caspar Gutman, the mysterious Mr. G who is in search of the black bird. They arrange to meet in fifteen minutes.
  • Suddenly the door opens and in walks Iva. She pleads with him to forgive her. She confesses that she had sent Tom and Dundy to Spade's apartment last night because she became jealous when she saw him with another woman. (Steer clear of jealous women, Spade. Don't say we didn't warn you.)
  • She explains that she was trying to warn him that Phil Archer had found out about their affair. Convinced that Spade had killed Miles, Phil went to the police to inform them about the affair.
  • When Spade questions Iva about her whereabouts on the night of Miles's murder, she insists that she was at home, but he doesn't believe her. He orders Iva to go see Sid Wise, his lawyer.
  • Spade then journeys to suite 12-C at the Alexandria Hotel to meet with Gutman. He's greeted by a fat man, dressed almost entirely in black.
  • Spade claims to have knowledge of the whereabouts of the black bird, but wants Gutman to first tell him what he knows about the figurine. Gutman refuses to do so, unless Spade also reveals what he knows. Yet another game of cat and mouse.
  • Furious at Gutman for being so secretive, Spade gives him until 5:30 to decide whether or not he's going to share what he knows about the black bird.