"The Maltese Falcon" is a successful novel in describing and shaping characters.
The author, Dashiell Hammett, gave detailed description, including the characters" language, behavior, and facial expressions---, to shape different temperaments. When I was reading the book, I kept thinking the temperament of the characters. Besides their appearances, I think they have deeper layer of temperament. Especially for Samuel Spade and Miss O"Shaughnessy, who are main characters of "The Maltese Falcon".
Miss O"Shaughnessy, who acted in "a schoolgirl manner" all the time, was definitely not all that she pretended to be, as Spade said. Miss O"Shaughnessy, together with FolydThursby, were hired by Gutman to look for the falcon. Nevertheless, after she got the falcon from a Russian general--- Kemidov, they turned greedy and planned to process the precious statue. On the other hand, O"Shaughnessy was afraid of Gutman, who heads up the gang of villains, so at the same time, instead of bringing the falcon to San Francisco by herself, she asked another man, Captain Jacobi to bring the falcon from Hong Kong to San Francisco by La Paloma. After she and Thursby came back to S.F., Miss O"Shaughnessy wants to get rid of Thursby in order to own the falcon totally. Therefore, she killed Archer to nail Thursby. However, on the same night, Wilma Cook shot Thursby as he refused to make a deal with Gutman. Right after La Paloma arrived, she went to Jacobi at once to get the falcon, but unfortunately came across with Gutman's party. She then pretended to return the falcon, but actually slipped away with the falcon. After Jocabi was shot by Wilma, he struggled to give the falcon statueto Spade before he died. At the last minute, she still tried to tell a lie to Spade to cover the fact that she killed Archer in order to get rid of Thursby. In my opinion, Miss O"Shaughnessy was actually a cunning and tricky woman, who was able to hang around with several men at the same time; she also utilized her beauty as capital, which helps her to achieve her goal.