Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Chapter 14

By Dashiell Hammett

Chapter 14

La Paloma

  • At six in the morning, Spade staggers to his office and unlocks the door to find Effie asleep at her desk. Effie expresses alarm when she sees Spade's swollen and bloodied head. Spade can't remember what happened after he was drugged.
  • Spade asks Effie to contact her uncle, a history professor at the University, to see if he can confirm the truth behind Gutman's story of the Maltese falcon.
  • After confirming whether Brigid had returned to her room at the Coronet (she hadn't), Spade goes to the Belvedere and searches Cairo's room, with the help of Sam, the hotel detective.
  • In the wastebasket, Spade finds a copy of yesterday's Call. In the financial and shipping news section, below a small caption which read Arrived Today, a corner of the paper had been torn off.
  • Spade searches through the wastebasket a second time, and finds another piece of crumpled paper. It's the missing portion of the Call, listing the arrival times of 6 or 7 boats.
  • Spade Circles the line that reads: "8:05 A.M.—La Paloma from Hongkong."
  • Spade makes two phone calls, one to Tom to arrange a lunch, and the other to District Attorney Bryan, who had left a message with Effie that he wanted to see Spade.
  • When Effie returns, she informs Spade that her uncle believes Gutman's story is accurate. She also mentions that on her way back, she saw a boat on fire at the pier. Spade asks if she was close enough to see the name of the boat, and Effie says that it was La Paloma.