Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Chapter 6

By Dashiell Hammett

Chapter 6

The Undersized Shadow

  • After Cairo's departure, Spade pours himself another drink and then heads out to dinner at Herbert's Grill on Powell Street. Spade notices an undersized youth following him.
  • Spade walks to Hotel Belvedere in search of Cairo, but he's not in. The youth is sitting in the lobby. Spade then goes to Geary Theatre and waits.
  • When Spade spots Cairo entering the theatre, he asks Cairo discreetly whether he knows the identity of the youth. Cairo claims to not know him.
  • Spade boards a trolley headed to the Coronet with the youth still tailing him.
  • Brigid greets Spade eagerly. A new round of cat-and-mouse begins as Brigid and Spade each struggle to maintain the upper hand: Spade tries to pry more information out of Brigid, but she remains secretive and tight-lipped.
  • Sensing a connection between her and Cairo, Spade casually mentions that Cairo has offered him money for the retrieval of a black bird. Brigid becomes nervous, and asks Spade to arrange a meeting with Cairo.
  • Spade arranges for the three of them to meet in his apartment that evening. When Spade and Brigid reach the lobby of his apartment, Iva is waiting for him outside in a sedan.
  • Spade excuses himself from Brigid, and goes out to meet Iva. She wants to talk to him and asks him who the woman is. Spade refuses to answer and Iva reproaches him for being cold, but he remains distant, telling her he can't see her right now.
  • She drives off angrily.