Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sam Spade

Sam Spade, a tall, blond, pleasantly satanic-looking, hard-boiled private detective suspected of having killed Thursby and of having also killed Miles Archer in order to marry Iva. He at last learns how he has been used in the plot to get the Maltese falcon; he discovers the murderers of Miles and Thursby, and he turns Brigid over to the police.

Brigid O’Shaughnessy

Brigid O’Shaughnessy, his tall, attractive, auburn-haired, deceitful client, who first masquerades as a Miss Wonderly, then shoots Miles, double-crosses her associates, and finally attempts in vain to seduce Sam into letting her go free of a murder charge.

Casper Gutman

Casper Gutman, her fat, tough employer, who is attempting to get hold of the Maltese falcon. He is shot by Wilmer Cook.

Wilmer Cook

Wilmer Cook, Gutman’s young bodyguard, murderer of Thursby, Jacobi, and Gutman.

Joel Cairo

Joel Cairo, Gutman’s dark-skinned, flashily dressed one-time agent.

Miles Archer

Miles Archer, Spade’s middle-aged partner, solidly built, wide-shouldered, red-faced. He is shot and killed by Brigid.

Floyd Thursby

Floyd Thursby, Brigid’s murdered accomplice.

Iva Archer

Iva Archer, Miles’s wife, a voluptuous, still pretty blonde in her thirties; in love with Sam.


Kemidov, a Russian in Constantinople who has substituted a lead imitation for the genuine Maltese falcon.


Jacobi, captain of the ship La Paloma; killed by Wilmer.

Effie Perine

Effie Perine, Sam’s lanky, boyish-faced, suntanned secretary.

Rhea Gutman

Rhea Gutman, daughter of Gutman.


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

While clearly a descendant of the Continental Op, Sam Spade is a more mature detective than his predecessor. In contrast to the anonymous,...

(The entire section is 255 words.)