In The Maltese Falcon, in place of the nameless Continental Op of Red Harvest and The Dain Curse, Dashiell Hammett created, as his protagonist, one of the most famous examples of the private investigator. The “blond satan” with the wolfish grin, Sam Spade, is a loner whose audacity and individualism are the product of a thoroughgoing distrust of conventional social arrangements and familiar pieties. Spade's cynical sense of the world is epitomised in the story he tells Brigid of the strange affair of Flitcraft, who abandons his perfectly ordinary family life after he has nearly been killed by a falling beam: this exposure to life's randomness leads Flitcraft to leave behind his orderly existence, and to …
Horsley, Lee. "The Maltese Falcon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=251, accessed 28 April 2015.]