The Big Sleep

Joe Brody is a black grifter who tries and fails to steal Arthur Gwynn Geiger’s racket, an illegal pornography outlet. He does so with the help of Geiger’s store assistant, “the blonde,” Agnes Lovelle. Things do not go to plan, however, when Geiger’s other assistant and implied lover, Carol Lundgren, thinks Brody killed Geiger to steal his business from him. Lundgren kills Brody in revenge. Joe is innocent of the murder, but was present at the scene of the crime. Brody tells Philip Marlowe that he tailed Geiger to his house, and heard the gunshots from within. Brody then followed the real murderer, Owen Taylor, and overpowered him, stealing photographic negatives of a naked Carmen Sternwood in the process. Agnes helps Brody blackmail Carmen over the pictures, but Marlowe overpowers Brody and takes the pictures from him. Carmen tries to frame Brody for Geiger’s murder because of a past feud. Brody’s tale of frustrated ambition demonstrates how regular grifters struggle to carve out their own racket in the chaos of L.A.’s criminal underworld.

Joe Brody Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Brody or refer to Joe Brody. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Big Sleep published in 1939.
Chapter 14 Quotes

“What?” the blonde yelped. “You sit there and try to tell us Mr. Geiger ran that kind of business right down on the main drag? You’re nuts!” I leered at her politely. “Sure I do. Everybody knows the racket exists. Hollywood's made to order for it. If a thing like that has to exist, then right out on the street is where all practical coppers want it to exist. For the same reason they favor red light districts. They know where to flush the game when they want to.”

Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

Eddie Mars would have been very unlikely to involve himself in a double murder just because another man had gone to town with the blonde he was not even living with … If there had been a lot of money involved, that would be different. But fifteen grand wouldn't be a lot of money to Eddie Mars. He was no two-bit chiseler like Brody.

Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
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Carol Lundgren, the boy killer with the limited vocabulary, was out of circulation for a long, long time, even if they didn’t strap him in a chair over a bucket of acid. They wouldn’t, because he would take a plea and save the county money. They all do when they don't have the price of a big lawyer.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Joe Brody, Carol Lundgren
Related Symbols: Cyanide, Money
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
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Joe Brody Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Brody appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...is that he’s being blackmailed, “again.” The first time was by a man called Joe Brody, whom the General paid off to leave Carmen alone. The General gives Marlowe the envelope... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...the man must be experienced in pressuring rich victims. The detective then asks about Joe Brody, whom the General describes as a gambler. Marlowe next asks whether the General’s daughters have... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
...apartment block. Marlowe looks at the names on the mailboxes, and spies the name Joe Brody at 405. (full context)
Chapter 12
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...night. He says the police don’t, or they’d still be at the house. Maybe Joe Brody, Marlowe says. At this Carmen reacts instantly, declaring that Joe was the murderer. (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe doubts Carmen’s honesty. She says she hates Joe Brody, which Marlowe points out gives her the motive to blame him for the murder. She... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...is gone, assuming that’s what she came to get. Marlowe reconfirms that she blames Joe Brody, before instructing her to go home and tell no one she was ever there. (full context)
Chapter 14
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
It is evening as Marlowe returns to Joe Brody’s apartment. The door opens slowly after the detective’s knock, and “a brown expressionless face” fills... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Trying to talk his way in, Marlowe tells Brody he has Geiger’s notebook filled with clients’ names; because Brody has the books, they should... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Moving carefully, Brody sits opposite Marlowe and throws him a cigar from across the room. As Marlowe reaches... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody half apologizes for the gun, saying he’s “not a tough guy—just careful.” Marlowe tells him... (full context)
Masculinity Theme Icon
Without looking away from Marlowe, Brody calls Agnes—the blonde from Geiger’s store—out from behind the curtain. She tells Marlowe she knew... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...be profitable—enough to kill Geiger over. Agnes is “outraged,” or at least pretends to be. Brody tells her to shut up and denies he has anything to do with the racket.... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody reminds Agnes to shut up and tells Marlowe to keep talking. The detective says that... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Still holding a gun, Brody denies the murder. Marlowe tells him it doesn’t matter; Brody had the motive and there... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
The room is silent for a while, and Marlowe leaves it that way. Brody begins to deny having the photos, but Marlowe says he must have known that Carmen... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody demands money for the naked photos of Carmen from the night Geiger was shot. Marlowe... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe asks Brody and Agnes if they’ve ever been to Geiger’s house, which they deny, insisting they weren’t... (full context)
Chapter 15
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
As the buzzer keeps ringing, Brody worries. Marlowe is uncomfortable too, as he doesn’t want to get involved with the police,... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
As Brody opens the door, he is instantly sent walking backward: Carmen is on the other side... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Carmen and Brody ignore Agnes and Marlowe’s fight, and Carmen demands her photos from Brody. She says she... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody tries and fails to grab Carmen’s gun, which  she then shoots through a window pane.... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe makes Brody hand over the photos and the negatives. The detective pockets them and Carmen leaves, flirting... (full context)
Chapter 16
Masculinity Theme Icon
When Marlowe goes back into Brody’s apartment, he sees that Carmen’s little gun has blown the window out. On the gun’s... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Back to questioning Brody, Marlowe asks why he blackmailed Mrs. Regan rather than her father. Brody says he’d already... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe asks Brody how he came by the photos. Brody tries to avoid the question, to Agnes’s exasperation.... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
As Brody remains evasive, Marlowe heads for the door and places Brody’s guns on a table, saying... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe asks Brody where he was the previous night, and Brody admits he had recently been tailing Geiger... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody claims he left after inspecting the other car, and Marlowe tells him the Buick ended... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Brody agrees that’s probably what happened, but it doesn’t follow that Brody also killed Owen. He... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe asks Brody how he knows it was Geiger who was killed. Brody says he assumed, and was... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
The door buzzer rings again. Looking at his guns on the table, Brody thinks that Carmen must be back. He strides over to the door, gun in hand.... (full context)
Masculinity Theme Icon
...the kid his name—Carol Lundgren. Marlowe tells him he shot the wrong guy, and that Brody didn’t kill Geiger, his “queen.” Carol just swears at him again. (full context)
Chapter 18
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Ohls asks Cronjager how he’s progressing on finding Joe Brody’s murderer. The police have picked up Agnes, and the two unfired guns in the apartment,... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe tells the room of policeman everything that had happened, apart from Carmen threatening Joe Brody and Eddie Mars showing up at Geiger’s house. (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cronjager accuses Marlowe of allowing Joe Brody’s murder to take place by not telling the police about Geiger’s murder earlier. Marlowe defends... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...He demands Marlowe explain why he’s so sure of his story. Marlowe asserts that Joe Brody doesn’t seem the killing “type,” while Taylor had motive to kill Geiger, as he loved... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...better resting place. Wilde agrees. Marlowe adds Lundgren probably later tailed the books to Joe Brody, and assumed Brody killed Geiger to get his racket. (full context)
Chapter 19
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...Owen’s death is not connected to the other murders. Captain Cronjager supposedly solved the other cases—Brody supposedly shot Geiger and Lundgren shot Brody in revenge. Marlowe sneers at the newspapers’ typical... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Mrs. Regan accuses Marlowe of being “a killer.” He explains he didn’t kill Geiger or Brody, though he would have if needed. Mrs. Regan says that makes him “a killer at... (full context)
Chapter 25
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
...Marlowe tells Jones to get to the point, saying he must be connected to Joe Brody, which takes Jones by surprise. (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Chapter 27
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...Mars driving with Canino in the car a couple weeks ago. Agnes was with Joe Brody at the time, and they tailed the car to the hideout location, near a garage... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...she drives off with the money, Marlowe thinks of all the men who have died—Geiger, Brody, and Jones—while Agnes doesn’t have a scratch.  (full context)