Re: RARA-AVIS: Maltese Falcon

From: Patrick King (
Date: 23 May 2008

--- Nathan Cain <> wrote:
> I disagree. I think Brigid was acting rationally
> when she deceived
> Spade and Archer.

The only rationality in O'Shaunghnessy's behavior is on her own terms. Every day private detectives are asked to recover missing or stolen items. Cairo comes into Spades office and tells him what he wants him to locate. Now the idea of also mugging him in his own office shows that Cairo is also out of touch but he's trying. O'Shaunghnessy comes in with a half-baked tale about a sister who doesn't exist. We have no reason to think Floyd Thursby is a killer except that O'Shaughnessy tells us he is. Spade quickly susses that Thursby and Jacoby think they're helping a damsel in distress. She's completely crazy. The fact that she MAY profit from her scheme if she can pull it off in no way mitigates her delusion. Most psychotics do profit from their illness. On the other hand, does O'Shaughnessy have any idea what she'll do with the Falcon if she gets it? How she'll sell it? Sell it back to the Greek they stole it from? On these questions, the book is silent. Manipulating your mother into marrying a millionaire is greedy scheming. Murdering people to acquire a "dingus" is completely delusional.

> Now, on a certain level, I do agree with you about
> the people pursuing
> the Falcon being a bit nuts. They're obsessed, but I
> don't think
> they're psychotic. Their actions make too much
> sense.

Well, I've given you my definition of psychotic fairly extensively and these folks fit the shoe. What's your definition of psychotic? How crazy do people have to be in your book? These people are about as delusional as people can be without blabbering. One can argue that much of Guttman's condescending diatribe is blabbering. How do you think his "history of the Falcon" played during his trial? Ted Bundy is saner than any of these Falcon hunters!

Patrick King


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