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San Francisco, California

Maltese Falcon Alleyway

Alleyway plaque commemorating the death of a fictional character in the Maltese Falcon, not far from the authors home  

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In this alley you will find a plaque that could easily be mistaken for a record of historical importance. The plaque reads “On approximately this spot, Miles Archer, partner of Sam Spade, was done in by Brigid O’Shaughnessy.” Of course Miles Archer, Sam Spade and Brigid O’Shaughnessy are not historical characters, but the creations of author Dashiell Hammett, and the death of Miles Archer just a moment in the film “The Maltese Falcon.”

However, there is a certain reality here as well. This alleyway is only a few blocks away from Hammett’s apartment 891 Post Street, one which he shared with his fictional character Spade who also lived at 891 Post Street.

This is not the most beautiful part of town, and at night one standing in the alleyway reading the plaque you can certainly imagine the grim scene of Archer being “done in.” It is no surprise then, that Hammett, walking the streets of his noir-esq neighborhood, imagined it so himself

If one finds themselves wanting more, there is a Sam Spade walking tour that features other Hammett sites such as Hammett’s workplace the flood building, a restaurant where Sam Spade ate, and Hammett’s apartment. 

Know Before You Go

Tours at www.donherron.com

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