ImageDashiell Hammett’s classic American private-eye novel, The Maltese Falcon, will take center stage at the historic Santa Fe Depot during the March 12 Second Friday Circuit of Art, as The Performing Arts Studio joins the Pioneer Library System in kicking off The Big Read 2010. The Depot, home to PAS, is located at 200 S. Jones Ave.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture and bring together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

This year’s book selection, The Maltese Falcon, tells the story of detective Sam Spade, who becomes embroiled with a mysterious client, chases a priceless treasure and avenges the death of his partner.

From 6 to 10 p.m., guests may pick up complimentary copies of The Maltese Falcon and enjoy light refreshments while listening to the music of Off Boyd Jazz Band. In homage to Spade’s favorite beverage, a malt scotch tasting will be offered at a cash bar. Wine also will be available for purchase, and complimentary coffee and tea will be offered as well.

Visitors are encouraged to dress in costume to get into spirit of the 1930s. Period accessories include dark lipsticks and feathered hats, or fedoras and trench coats.

Guests also may sign up to participate in library book discussions of The Maltese Falcon or check out book discussion kits to use in private book discussion settings.

For more information about this event or PAS’s programs, call 307-9320.