The Maltese Falcon is all about deception. Sam and Brigid are such pathological liars that I seriously doubt anything they say. But that's what makes The Maltese Falcon such an endearing work: it's an experimental glance into the human mind, and a fairly successful one at that. Hammett creates a world that functions on a simple thriller/murder-mystery level and that also points to more philosophical matters. Do good and evil exist? Sam Spade seems to tacitly agree when he plays by his own version of those rules. Does that make Sam - or anyone else, for that matter - a good or evil person? What's at the heart of a lying and deceitful person like Sam? The Maltese Falcon gives us Dashiell Hammett's views on these matters, and they certainly are intriguing. Best of all, The Maltese Falcon works as a simple mystery too, in case you're not thrilled about diving headfirst into Sam Spade's hard-boiled morality.
There's really no excuse not
to read The Maltese Falcon. It's a great piece of detective fiction.