Study Guide

The Maltese Falcon Chapter 7

By Dashiell Hammett

Chapter 7

G in the Air

  • In his apartment, Spade begins telling Brigid about a story that happened some years before in the Northwest.
  • Flashback to the year 1922. A man named Flitcraft had left his real-estate office in Tacoma and never returned. Nobody knew why until 1927, when Mrs. Flitcraft came to the detective agency where Spade was then working, claiming that somebody had seen a man in Spokane that looked like her husband.
  • Spade went to check it out, and sure enough, the man was Flitcraft. Going by the name Charles Pierce, Flitcraft had a car business, a wife and a baby son.
  • Flitcraft explained to Spade that one day he was walking down the sidewalk when a beam fell from a construction site and almost hit and killed him. Although he wasn't seriously injured, the incident made him realize that life was not orderly and that men can die at random at any time.
  • So he decided to change his own life at random by simply going away. But after drifting around the country for several years, he settled in Spokane and got married. Spade is fascinated by the fact that Flitcraft's new life was not that different from his previous life.
  • Soon after Spade finishes telling Brigid the story about Flitcraft, Cairo arrives and tells them that the unnamed youth is still outside watching the house.
  • Cairo claims that he is ready to pay for the figurine, but Brigid says she doesn't have it. They both refer to a mysterious figure, "G," of whom they seem to be scared.
  • As the two begin to argue, Polhaus and Dundy show up, but Spade refuses to let them in. Dundy accuses Spade of having an affair with Miles' wife, but Spade scoffs at the idea. Just as they're about to leave, a scream is heard from inside, and the police force their way in.