“I must say that you passed the test with flying colors, sir. It never occurred to me that you’d hit on such a simple and direct way of getting to the truth.”
– Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, 197
With this we see a direct telling of what morally drives Spade, which is the truth. However, it is how Spade tries to uncover the truth that makes his “goodness” brought into question. Ultimately, Spade exemplifies how good and bad are not concrete examples, and how his gritty American lifestyle makes him the morally confused hero he is.