Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet are two detective fictions that share the same thing about their protagonists; both are not part of the formal legal system that oversees, manages, and solves crimes and mysterious cases by using legal means and following certain set of protocols. …
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Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes, the main detective characters in The Maltese Falcon and A Study in Scarlet respectively, are strangers in the formal legal system, but proved to be successful in solving the puzzles behind mysterious cases that they were assigned. Aside from their status as private citizens acting as detectives, their keen eyes for details and a healthy dose of skepticism proved to be a perfect mix in their ability to solve cases.
Sam Spade, a detective who is known for his scornful derision and passion for his work, had solved a mystery case regarding the death of his comrade, Archer and an initial target of their mission, an Englishman named Thursby. Thursby’s and Archer’s deaths remained a mystery even for Spade himself because he did not fully know Miss Wonderly, the woman who hired his and Archer’s services using a faked story. At the course of the novel, the mystery was revealed when Wonderly, whose real name is Brigid O’Shaughnessy, killed Thursby herself. Initially, Spade was suspected as the culprit of Thursby’s death according to law enforcers. He calmly denied, but not vehemently, and continued to engage in undercover activities himself in order to solve the puzzle. It is in this case that being an outside agent from the formal legal system can assure a success in solving crimes because one no longer has to go through a strict organizational policies and protocols. Spade did some meet-ups with the people involved in the crime, and monetary amounts are not always questioned in terms of its moral value and appropriateness under the laws in a legal system (Hammett).
Sherlock Holmes also proves to be successful in his job being a consulting detective.
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