Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Chapter 17

By Dashiell Hammett

Chapter 17

Saturday Night

  • Spade first checks the bird in at the Parcel Room of the Pickwick Stage terminal, mails himself the collection tag, then goes to suite 12-C at the Alexandria.
  • Inside, he finds a drugged girl, who identifies herself as Rhea Gutman, Casper's daughter. In her hand, Spade finds a small pin that she had used to scratch her stomach in an effort to stay awake until Spade's arrival. Ouch. Someone get some band-aids.
  • She tells him that Cairo and Wilmer have taken Brigid to 26 Ancho Avenue. Spade calls the hospital to tell them about Rhea's condition, and then heads off to Ancho Avenue.
  • But when he gets there, the house looks as if it hadn't been occupied in weeks. Was Rhea's information a false lead?
  • Spade returns to the Alexendria and asks the hotel desk clerk about the Gutmans. The desk clerk says that someone had called the hospital to tell them about a sick girl in suite 12C, but that when they got there, no one was inside. Looks like Spade has been duped.
  • Spade returns home to find Brigid waiting for him on the front steps.
  • They walk into the living room to find they have visitors: Gutman, Wilmer, Cairo, the last two armed with pistols.