It started off as quite the page turner, became a bit tangential then finished up OK. The whodunits are interesting, because you really don’t trust any of the characters except maybe Sam’s secretary, Effie. A bigger mystery are the scenes that go nowhere and leave the reader wondering what they were about. Sam however, doesn’t like wondering. He combats it by proclaiming he knows everything, so everyone else better start talking, which some do, but he doesn’t trust them anyway, so he remains incensed about the whole thing. He also must possess incredible charisma as he hurls his patented monkey wrenches to gum up the works and no one ditches or beats the urine out of him.
His charisma was validated, as to remain in the company of San Francisco’s #1 private dick (circa 1930, as today’s S.F. dick is another matter altogether), the Brothers retreated to the Illuminado’s Boethius Memorial Theater to watch the 1941 film version of the book. Bogie was a heck of a Sam Spade. Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, were stellar as well. But, it was pearls among swine as nearly everyone fell asleep. It takes a tiger in a Las Vegas bathroom, a male model walk-off or the No. 4 prostitute in all of Kazakhstan to keep this crew awake after 9PM.
With giants as actors, The Maltese Falcon is a must see movie, but the book is optional.