The next morning, Marlowe feels he has a hangover from women.
As Marlowe leaves his building, he sees the Plymouth that has been tailing him. He drives around the block to get a look at the driver, a small man who is by himself. Marlowe shakes off the car as it tails him, doubles back round the block, gets out of his own car, and walks over to the Plymouth. He opens the door and invites the man up to his office after he has his breakfast.
Marlowe is unintimidated by this adversary as he notes the man is smaller than him, highlighting how Marlowe equates masculinity with power. As such, although the car was previously an ominous presence, Marlowe now approaches the driver head on, without fear.
In his office, Marlowe finds his check from General Sternwood. The small man enters Marlowe’s office, and introduces himself as Harry Jones. They both light a cigarette.
The General’s check reminds the reader of the two men’s relationship: employer and employee. Marlowe is working toward his client’s ends, not primarily his own. Marlowe again focuses on Jones’s height, almost mockingly.
Harry Jones introduces his history as a grifter, at which Marlowe scoffs. Marlowe tells Jones to get to the point, saying he must be connected to Joe Brody, which takes Jones by surprise.
Jones is upfront and to the point, showing he also has no fear of Marlowe, though Marlowe shows no respect to the “little man,” again displaying his perception of masculinity as power.
Jones says he’s in contact with Agnes, and has information that he wants to sell to Marlowe for $200. Marlowe scoffs that Jones and Agnes are partners, laughing that she would crush Jones, which Jones responds to with dignified affront.
As Marlowe had mocked Lundgren for being a lesser man, so he openly ridicules Jones because his lover is taller than him. To Marlowe, masculinity comes from following traditional gender roles, in particular manifesting physically dominant manliness. Jones’ dignified response shows Marlowe’s arrogant masculinity distances the detective from potentially useful allies. Meanwhile, Jones is primarily looking out for himself, hoping to make some money off Marlowe.
Marlowe asks what the information is about, and Jones said it would help find Rusty Regan. Jones says Mars killed Regan, but Marlowe doesn’t believe him. Jones says Regan was a good man and in love with Mona Mars, Eddie’s wife. The way Jones talks tells Marlowe the grifter has brains and the vocabulary to match.
Instead of readily offering Marlowe the information so that the truth will be uncovered, Jones hopes to make his own profit from the whole situation. Jones’s intelligence, particularly his eloquence, takes Marlowe by surprise, as he constantly underestimates the “little man.”
Jones tells Marlowe he noticed Rusty wasn’t around, and then noticed that Mars’s tough guy Lash Canino, who usually keeps his distance, was in town. Jones told this to Joe Brody, who then tailed Canino and saw Mrs. Regan pass Canino something that looked like money.
Jones and Brody both involved themselves in Rusty’s business because they thought there was a way to make money from it. Most grifters fear Canino, meaning the men would not have put themselves in harm’s way unless they expected a profit.
For the $200, Jones tells Marlowe he can tell him where Mona Mars is now. That gets Marlowe’s attention. Jones says Mona never ran off with Rusty, but is “being kept” just outside the city. He explains that Agnes had seen Mona herself, and will tell Marlowe where when she has the money, after all she’s a grifter too. Marlowe likes Jones’ manner, and agrees to the deal, but he needs to get the cash first.
Jones tells Marlowe to come to his apartment that evening with the money. Jones leaves, and Marlowe goes to the bank to cash his check. Marlowe then sits in his office thinking it through, wondering why Captain Gregory hadn’t found Mona yet. Maybe he hadn’t tried, he wonders, as the rain falls.
Given Marlowe knows that Eddie Mars has paid off Gregory, Marlowe’s question centers more on how much of a hold Mars has over the Captain. Marlowe is wondering how much of the truth Gregory knows but is concealing.