Help, my memory is shot (Maltese Falcon spoilers)
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20 years ago or more I read an interpretation of MF's ending and now I don't know where/who. Unlike the movie, the book ends the day after the case wraps up. We see Effie's reaction to Spade sending Brigid up the river ("Don't touch me.") then Effie announces that Iva Archer is waiting to see him. Spade has been putting off dealing with his partner's widow throughout the book. He was happy to have an affair with her when she was married, now she's a clinging, jealous millstone around his neck. From the book:
Spade, looking down at his desk, nodded almost imperceptibly. "Yes," he said, and shivered. "Well, send her in."
The interpretation is that the insanely jealous Iva walks into the office, pulls a gun out her purse and shoots Spade dead. I myself can't decide if that would be rough justice or a fitting comeuppance for Hammett's "blond satan", but my question is has anyone else run across the idea. For years I thought I got it from sf author Philip Jose Farmer but now I can't find it in his works (and I've got most of them). Any leads? Thanks. Cross-posting this in the largest mystery and sf groups.
I came across that interpretation in the article "How to Tell Spade from Marlowe from Archer" by Richard R. Lingeman which can be found in Murder Ink. In the "background" section, Lingeman writes "Came to a bad end. Subject was shot to death in his office in 1930 by Iva Archer two days after closing Maltese Falcon case. Motive: jealousy."
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I own Murder Ink (over the years I've owned it 3 different times, in fact - what a great book!) and that article is definitely ringing bells.
Now I'll have to look it up, and lose half the afternoon re-reading favorite pieces again ("The Lure of the Reichenbach" comes to mind.)
May you prosper as your library grows!
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