Thursday, December 18, 2014

A note on The Maltese Falcon

An astonishing proportion of any given page is given over to descriptions of Sam Spade himself: his grins, his grimaces, the set of his shoulders, the variable colour of his eyes. Yet the emotions that inform these are generally opaque, as though the detective himself were the cypher and only his gestures and expressions the clue. This may be the point, since the mystery is not that magnificent diversion, the falcon, or even the murder of Spade's partner, but the question, from the moment the trouble begins: what will Spade do?

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