The Big Sleep

Philip Marlowe Character Analysis

Protagonist and narrator Philip Marlowe is an experienced and well-networked private detective. He is hired by General Sternwood to discover why Arthur Gwynn Geiger is blackmailing him; district attorney Taggart Wilde, whom Marlowe used to work for, had suggested Marlowe for the job, revealing that Marlowe remains respected among the L.A. police department despite having been “fired” for “insubordination.” A stereotypical man’s man, Marlowe drinks heavily, can shoot a gun while handcuffed, fights well when forced to, and easily withstands the wiles of Sternwood’s temptress daughters. Cynical, strategic, and fearless, Marlowe is an ace detective who stands for honor and honesty and always seems one step ahead of his opponents. Marlowe takes his job seriously, looking to uncover the whole story rather than just do what is necessary for a paycheck, and often demonstrates a strong moral compass that most other characters in the novel lack. While Sternwood hired Marlowe only to look into Geiger’s blackmail threat, the detective also comes across the mystery of missing person Rusty Regan, the General’s son-in-law. The mystery seems to follow Marlowe despite his initial disinterest, and, finally, proves too enticing to ignore; by the end of the novel, Marlowe has solved both cases and revealed the depth of corruption among even the respected members of Los Angeles society. Yet, Marlowe is not without fault. Sexist and homophobic, Marlowe scorns those who do not meet his rigid sense of proper American masculinity. He mocks the homosexual Geiger and his lover Carol Lundgren, despises overtly sexual women, and disdains the short Harry Jones.

Philip Marlowe Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Philip Marlowe or refer to Philip Marlowe. 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 1 Quotes

Over the entrance doors … there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair … I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker)
Related Symbols: Knights
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

He didn’t know the right people. That’s all a police record means in this rotten crime-ridden country.

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Owen Taylor
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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“You ought to stop some of that flash gambling,” I said.

“With the syndicate we got in this county? Be your age, Marlowe.”

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Bernie Ohls (speaker)
Page Number: 62
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Chapter 12 Quotes

A pretty, spoiled and not very bright little girl who had gone very, very wrong, and nobody was doing anything about it. To hell with the rich. They made me sick.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Carmen Sternwood, Arthur Gwynn Geiger
Page Number: 64
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Chapter 13 Quotes

His eyes went narrow. The veneer had flaked off him, leaving a well-dressed hard boy with a Luger.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Eddie Mars
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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I know you, Mr. Mars. The Cypress Club at Las Olindas. Flash gambling for flash people. The local law in your pocket and a wellgreased line into L.A. In other words, protection.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Eddie Mars, Arthur Gwynn Geiger
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 72
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The muzzle of the Luger looked like the mouth of the Second Street tunnel, but I didn’t move. Not being bullet proof is an idea I had had to get used to.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Eddie Mars
Page Number: 73
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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
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Chapter 18 Quotes

I’m kind of glad that Taylor kid went off the pier. I’d hate to have to help send him to the deathhouse for rubbing that skunk.

Related Characters: Bernie Ohls (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Arthur Gwynn Geiger, Owen Taylor
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
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“It’s obvious to anybody with eyes that that store is just a front for something. But the Hollywood police allowed it to operate, for their own reasons. I dare say the Grand Jury would like to know what those reasons are.” Wilde grinned. He said: “Grand Juries do ask those embarrassing questions sometimes—in a rather vain effort to find out just why cities are run as they are run.”

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Taggart Wilde (speaker), Arthur Gwynn Geiger
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cops get very large and emphatic when an outsider tries to hide anything, but they do the same things themselves every other day, to oblige their friends or anybody with a little pull.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Taggart Wilde
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 114
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I’ve done all my office permits—and maybe a good deal more—to save the old man from grief. But in the long run it can’t be done. Those girls of his are bound certain to hook up with something that can't be hushed, especially that little blonde brat. They ought not to be running around loose. I blame the old man for that.

Page Number: 114
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Chapter 20 Quotes

“General Sternwood’s a rich man,” I said. “He’s an old friend of the D.A.’s father. If he wants to hire a fulltime boy to run errands for him, that’s no reflection on the police. It’s just a luxury he is able to afford himself.”

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), General Sternwood, Captain Al Gregory
Related Symbols: Knights, Money
Page Number: 120
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He’s got friends in town, or he wouldn’t be what he is.

Page Number: 125
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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
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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
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I have my pipe line into headquarters, or I wouldn’t be here. I get them the way they happen, not the way you read them in the papers.

Related Characters: Eddie Mars (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Captain Al Gregory
Page Number: 131
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I wish old Sternwood would hire himself a soldier like you on a straight salary, to keep those girls of his home at least a few nights a week.

Related Symbols: Knights, Money
Page Number: 133
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Chapter 23 Quotes

“We’re his blood. That’s the hell of it.” She stared at me in the mirror with deep, distant eyes. “I don’t want him to die despising his own blood. It was always wild blood, but it wasn’t always rotten blood.”

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe, General Sternwood
Page Number: Book Page 148
Explanation and Analysis:
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That makes you just a killer at heart, like all cops.

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 24 Quotes

I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn’t a game for knights.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Carmen Sternwood
Related Symbols: Knights
Page Number: Book Page 156
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 25 Quotes

You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women. Women made me sick.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Vivian Regan, Carmen Sternwood
Page Number: 159
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She’s a grifter, shamus. I’m a grifter. We’re all grifters. So we sell each other out for a nickel.

Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 168
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He puffed evenly and stared at me level-eyed, a funny little hard guy I could have thrown from home plate to second base. A small man in a big man's world. There was something I liked about him.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Harry Jones
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 28 Quotes

Once outside the law you’re all the way outside. You think he’s just a gambler. I think he’s a pornographer, a blackmailer, a hot car broker, a killer by remote control, and a suborner of crooked cops. He’s whatever looks good to him, whatever has the cabbage pinned to it. Don’t try to sell me on any high-souled racketeers. They don’t come in that pattern.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Eddie Mars, Mona Mars
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 30 Quotes

Being a copper I like to see the law win. I'd like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, alongside of the poor little slum-bred hard guys that got knocked over on their first caper and never had a break since. That’s what I’d like. You and me both lived too long to think I’m likely to see it happen. Not in this town, not in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U.S.A. We just don’t run our country that way.

Related Characters: Captain Al Gregory (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Eddie Mars, Mona Mars
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
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The knight in the stained-glass window still wasn’t getting anywhere untying the naked damsel from the tree.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), General Sternwood
Related Symbols: Knights
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 32 Quotes

What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Terrence “Rusty” Regan
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
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Me, I was part of the nastiness now … But the old man didn’t have to be. He could lie quiet in his canopied bed, with his bloodless hands folded on the sheet, waiting.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), General Sternwood
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
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Philip Marlowe Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Philip Marlowe appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
A storm gathers as first-person narrator Philip Marlowe arrives at the Sternwood mansion near the hills. He is “sober” and “well-dressed” for the... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
A very young, good-looking woman comes into the hallway. She begins to compliment Marlowe, who quips back ironically, uninterested, telling her his name is “Doghouse Reilly.” She falls, making... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
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Mr. Norris leads Marlowe through the gardens to the greenhouse. It is swelteringly hot and humid inside, and filled... (full context)
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The General asks Marlowe to introduce himself. He says that he is 33, somewhat educated, a former police officer,... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
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Marlowe tells the General what he knows of the Sternwood family: that the General is a... (full context)
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...called Joe Brody, whom the General paid off to leave Carmen alone. The General gives Marlowe the envelope with a threat inside: a note from an Arthur Gwynn Geiger, enclosing $5,000... (full context)
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...not talk to Carmen about it, as she would just make a face at him. Marlowe asks for more information about the girls. General Sternwood tells him they go about their... (full context)
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Marlowe advises the General to pay off the blackmailer, as it is not a large amount... (full context)
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Marlowe says he is willing to look into Geiger for the General. He charges $25 a... (full context)
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Mr. Norris informs Marlowe that Mrs. Vivian Regan wishes to meet him. Marlowe dislikes that the butler has interfered,... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Stepping into Mrs. Regan’s vast upper sitting room, decorated in white and ivory, Marlowe can see the storm approaching through the window. The detective looks at Mrs. Regan, whom... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan asks Marlowe’s opinion of her father, General Sternwood. Marlowe responds politely but she pushes further, asking if... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
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...bell to call a maid in to replenish her drink. After the maid leaves, wordlessly, Marlowe asks Mrs. Regan for more information about Rusty’s disappearance. When his manner antagonizes her, he... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan realizes she’s made a mistake, and that Marlowe is not looking for Rusty. She tells him to leave, and then to sit down.... (full context)
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Marlowe stands just outside the door, smoking and looking at the distant oilfields where the Sternwoods... (full context)
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The storm has made it to the nearby hills as Marlowe walks through the grounds toward his car. Marlowe thinks about Mrs. Regan’s legs, and how... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Marlowe finds the blackmailer Geiger’s bookstore near Las Palmas. East Asian-style screens and antiques obscure the... (full context)
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Marlowe asks if they have certain rare book editions, a question Agnes is unsure how to... (full context)
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Marlowe jumps up and tails the customer. The detective lets the man see him as they... (full context)
Chapter 5
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At a phone booth, Marlowe looks up Geiger’s home address, as well as a couple legitimate rare bookstores. Going into... (full context)
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It begins to rain as Marlowe runs back over to his car, opposite Geiger’s store. Marlowe opens the parcel he took... (full context)
Chapter 6
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The storm has finally hit as Marlowe sits in his flooding car, as rain pours through the vehicle’s unsuitable convertible roof. Marlowe... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Marlowe stakes out the house amid the “driving rain” with his whiskey in hand. After some... (full context)
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After dark, a bright white flash goes off and a scream comes from the house. Marlowe runs toward the house, although he notes the scream was not one of terror and... (full context)
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Marlowe hears running inside the house, as someone flees down some steps out back. Because of... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The big room features East Asian decorations, similar to Geiger’s store, and Marlowe takes in every detail. Inside, Carmen is sitting on a throne-like chair, naked. She is... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
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Marlowe sees a jug filled with some sort of cocktail that has been left on the... (full context)
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Seeing that Carmen cannot be roused, Marlowe lays her on the divan and gathers her things. Marlowe checks the camera, but the... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Marlowe arrives at the Sternwood mansion and leaves the unconscious Carmen in the capable hands of... (full context)
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After half an hour of walking, Marlowe arrives at Geiger’s house, which remains quiet. He takes a swig of the alcohol in... (full context)
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Squatting to the floor, Marlowe thinks he can spy two lines on the rug, as though Geiger’s two heels had... (full context)
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Marlowe decides the turn of events—the body going missing and the police being unaware of the... (full context)
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Marlowe returns home to drink a “hot toddy” and try to work out the coded notebook’s... (full context)
Chapter 9
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When Marlowe wakes the next morning the storm has passed and Geiger’s death hasn’t made it to... (full context)
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Ohls informs Marlowe that one of the Sternwoods’ Buicks has been found in the sea, with a dead... (full context)
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Marlowe meets Ohls at the Hall of Justice, where the policeman confirms the body is not... (full context)
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Ohls and Marlowe drive down to the pier on the coast highway, about 30 miles away. A crowd... (full context)
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...still seated inside the vehicle, his neck bent grotesquely. The body has changed color, but Marlowe can see the boy was good looking. A bruise is visible against the boy’s now... (full context)
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The policemen, Ohls, and Marlowe are unsure whether it is suicide or murder, as the boy has a bruise on... (full context)
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Ohls and Marlowe decide to head back into town. As they drive, Marlowe tells Ohls the dead boy... (full context)
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Ohls says he must go tell the Sternwoods now. Marlowe asks him to “leave the old man out of it.” Ohls thinks Marlowe is sympathetic... (full context)
Chapter 10
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After eating lunch, Marlowe goes to Geiger’s store and asks the unnamed blonde assistant (Agnes) if Geiger is in.... (full context)
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Marlowe affects an air of impatience and says he’ll just go up to the house if... (full context)
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The door into the partitioned room opens briefly, and Marlowe spots the good looking male assistant (Carol Lundgren). He also sees that the store’s supply... (full context)
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Marlowe walks round to the back of the property, where he sees a man in overalls... (full context)
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...Brittany Place before again finding it unloading in the garage of a nearby apartment block. Marlowe looks at the names on the mailboxes, and spies the name Joe Brody at 405. (full context)
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Marlowe walks down the stairs to the garage to see the man loading boxes into the... (full context)
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His assumption confirmed, Marlowe gets back into the cab and has the driver take him to his office, where... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...a “mannish shirt and tie,” Mrs. Regan turns her nose up at the furniture in Marlowe’s waiting room. She makes a half-hearted apology for her rudeness the day before, and Marlowe... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan comments that the office is not showy, to which Marlowe responds that one does not make much money when staying within the limits of the... (full context)
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Lighting a cigarette, Mrs. Regan asks how Marlowe got into the business of being a private detective. He asks her how she married... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan tells Marlowe she has been trying to track him down all day. When he asks if it’s... (full context)
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However, Mrs. Regan explains that she didn’t come to talk about Owen. She passes Marlowe an envelope, out of which the detective pulls a photograph of Carmen from the night... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Mrs. Regan how much money “they” have asked for. She explains that a woman... (full context)
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Responding to Marlowe’s questions, Mrs. Regan explains Carmen was home ill last night, while she was losing at... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Mrs. Regan why Owen had the car, but she doesn’t know the answer—he wasn’t... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan suggests telling the police about the blackmailers, but Marlowe says he knows she doesn’t consider that a real option. He says he might able... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan tells Marlowe that Rusty is not “a crook.” He has money of his own, which he stashed... (full context)
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As Marlowe sees Mrs. Regan to the door, she asks again what the General has hired Marlowe... (full context)
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Alone, Marlowe calls Ohls on his office phone. Ohls has told the Sternwood butler, Norris, about Owen,... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Marlowe is back at Geiger’s house, the scene of the previous night’s crime. He realizes he... (full context)
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In the daylight, Geiger’s Asian interior decorations disgust Marlowe, who sees the aesthetic as a “stealthy nastiness, like a fag party.” (full context)
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Carmen can’t keep up her smile, which keeps faltering. Her eyes are vacant. Marlowe sees that she is not intelligent or principled, and that no one is guiding her.... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Carmen why she is there and how much she remembers. She claims she was... (full context)
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Carmen asks Marlowe who else knows about the previous night. He says the police don’t, or they’d still... (full context)
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Marlowe doubts Carmen’s honesty. She says she hates Joe Brody, which Marlowe points out gives her... (full context)
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Carmen’s laughter becomes hysterical, echoing around the house. Marlowe slaps her. She stops laughing but otherwise doesn’t react to the slap; Marlowe supposes all... (full context)
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Carmen tells Marlowe she knows his real name and that he’s a detective, as Mrs. Regan told her... (full context)
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...door puts a key in the lock. A man walks in, looking at Carmen and Marlowe without emotion. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...smartly in an all gray suit. He takes his hat off when he sees Carmen. Marlowe sees that Mars is no regular “tough man.” Mars closes the door and steps inside,... (full context)
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Mars asks if Geiger is home. Marlowe says he and Carmen are business acquaintances who found the door open and stepped inside;... (full context)
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Sighing, Mars says he knows something is wrong and threatens Marlowe to not obstruct him. Mars inspects the room and quickly finds the pool of blood... (full context)
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Sitting down at a desk in the room, Mars suggests calling the police. Marlowe agrees, calling Mars’s bluff. This displeases Mars, who asks Marlowe’s name. The detective responds truthfully... (full context)
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Putting his gun away, Mars asks Marlowe if he has any theories on what happened. Marlowe responds with various scenarios, including one... (full context)
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Marlowe tells Mars he knows exactly who he is—a well-protected and well-connected gangster who runs a... (full context)
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Mars calls in his men to check Marlowe. He tells the detective to open the door, pointing a gun at him—Marlowe refuses. Mars... (full context)
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Confident that Marlowe is who he says he is, Mars tells him to “talk.” Marlowe doesn’t think the... (full context)
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Mars gets frustrated with the constant back and forth in their conversation. He demands that Marlowe tell him what happened to Geiger because he’s worried the police will get involved, though... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Mars how Mars’s missing wife is. Annoyed, Mars tells Marlowe to leave, and not... (full context)
Chapter 14
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It is evening as Marlowe returns to Joe Brody’s apartment. The door opens slowly after the detective’s knock, and “a... (full context)
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Trying to talk his way in, Marlowe tells Brody he has Geiger’s notebook filled with clients’ names; because Brody has the books,... (full context)
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Moving carefully, Brody sits opposite Marlowe and throws him a cigar from across the room. As Marlowe reaches to catch the... (full context)
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Brody half apologizes for the gun, saying he’s “not a tough guy—just careful.” Marlowe tells him the way he stole Geiger’s books was poorly done, “not careful enough.” The... (full context)
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Without looking away from Marlowe, Brody calls Agnes—the blonde from Geiger’s store—out from behind the curtain. She tells Marlowe she... (full context)
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Marlowe explains the list of clients in the notebook is coded; with hundreds of names, the... (full context)
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Brody reminds Agnes to shut up and tells Marlowe to keep talking. The detective says that Brody shot Geiger to take over the store,... (full context)
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Still holding a gun, Brody denies the murder. Marlowe tells him it doesn’t matter; Brody had the motive and there is a witness who... (full context)
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The room is silent for a while, and Marlowe leaves it that way. Brody begins to deny having the photos, but Marlowe says he... (full context)
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Brody demands money for the naked photos of Carmen from the night Geiger was shot. Marlowe refuses. Brody asks how the detective found him and Agnes. The detective explains he was... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Brody and Agnes if they’ve ever been to Geiger’s house, which they deny, insisting... (full context)
Chapter 15
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As the buzzer keeps ringing, Brody worries. Marlowe is uncomfortable too, as he doesn’t want to get involved with the police, or with... (full context)
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...a gun at his face. As Agnes moves to point her own gun at Carmen, Marlowe uses the opportunity to overpower Agnes. (full context)
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Carmen and Brody ignore Agnes and Marlowe’s fight, and Carmen demands her photos from Brody. She says she saw him shoot Geiger.... (full context)
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...to the floor, tripping Carmen and causing her to lose her grip on the gun. Marlowe hits Agnes harder than before and she gives up. The detective picks up Carmen’s gun... (full context)
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Marlowe makes Brody hand over the photos and the negatives. The detective pockets them and Carmen... (full context)
Chapter 16
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When Marlowe goes back into Brody’s apartment, he sees that Carmen’s little gun has blown the window... (full context)
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Back to questioning Brody, Marlowe asks why he blackmailed Mrs. Regan rather than her father. Brody says he’d already “tapped”... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Brody how he came by the photos. Brody tries to avoid the question, to... (full context)
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As Brody remains evasive, Marlowe heads for the door and places Brody’s guns on a table, saying the current situation... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Brody where he was the previous night, and Brody admits he had recently been... (full context)
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Brody claims he left after inspecting the other car, and Marlowe tells him the Buick ended up in the sea with a corpse in it. Worried,... (full context)
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Marlowe asks Brody how he knows it was Geiger who was killed. Brody says he assumed,... (full context)
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Marlowe launches himself out of the door, along the hall and down the stairs. Someone in... (full context)
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With Carmen’s gun in his hand, Marlowe asks the figure for a light, and recognizes the good-looking kid from Geiger’s store. Marlowe... (full context)
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Police sirens sound, and Marlowe tries to convince the boy to go with him instead of the cops, saying he... (full context)
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Marlowe sticks his gun deeper into the kid’s stomach, takes the gun in the boy’s jacket,... (full context)
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They begin to drive toward Geiger’s house, and Marlowe asks the kid his name—Carol Lundgren. Marlowe tells him he shot the wrong guy, and... (full context)
Chapter 17
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It is nighttime as Marlowe and Lundgren pull up outside Geiger’s house. Marlowe tells Lundgren to open the door, as... (full context)
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Marlowe has the gun pointed at Lundgren, who is so angry he punches Marlowe anyway. The... (full context)
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Marlowe moves the car and drags the unconscious Lundgren into Geiger’s house. As Lundgren starts to... (full context)
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With Lundgren incapacitated on the floor, Marlowe searches the house again. Geiger’s body is on the boy’s bed, surrounded by incense and... (full context)
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Marlowe calls chief investigator Bernie Ohls. The private detective asks the cop if they had found... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...stands in Geiger’s house, looking at Lundgren. They don’t need a confession from the boy, Marlowe tells the chief investigator, as the private detective has Lundgren’s gun. (full context)
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Ohls tells Marlowe they will all have to drive over to District Attorney Taggart Wilde’s place. The chief... (full context)
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Marlowe follows in his car as they drive to Wilde’s house. The house is white framed... (full context)
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...drinking coffee as “cold-eyed” Captain Cronjager looks at the group. Ohls introduces the captain and Marlowe. (full context)
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...was a driver for a wealthy family who were being blackmailed, and who had called Marlowe in to help on Wilde’s recommendation. Cronjager dislikes the fact Marlowe has not kept the... (full context)
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...Ohls’s car outside, had lived with Geiger. At this point, Ohls offers the stage to Marlowe, to explain the rest of the story. (full context)
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Marlowe tells the room of policeman everything that had happened, apart from Carmen threatening Joe Brody... (full context)
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Cronjager accuses Marlowe of allowing Joe Brody’s murder to take place by not telling the police about Geiger’s... (full context)
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Wilde interjects, stopping the argument. He demands Marlowe explain why he’s so sure of his story. Marlowe asserts that Joe Brody doesn’t seem... (full context)
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Cronjager asks why Lundgren would have hidden the body. Marlowe suggests it would have given the boy time to pack and leave, though he later... (full context)
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Marlowe puts all the evidence on the table: Geiger’s blackmail letter, Carmen’s photos, and Geiger’s blue... (full context)
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Wilde asks Marlowe if he has told the full truth. Marlowe admits he has left out some personal... (full context)
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Marlowe gets the pornography book from his car and shows the policemen. Marlowe says the police... (full context)
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Wilde offers soothing words to Marlowe, excusing Cronjager’s anger. The district attorney tells Marlowe he’ll need to write statements, and asks... (full context)
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Marlowe explains he’s working a case, and must protect his client, as he is trying to... (full context)
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Wilde tells Marlowe that his father was good friends with General Sternwood, and Wilde himself has often done... (full context)
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Marlowe explains that the General had bonded with Rusty and simply wishes to know he is... (full context)
Chapter 19
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As Marlowe steps into the lobby of his apartment building, one of Eddie Mars’s men is waiting... (full context)
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The phone rings as Marlowe holds a freshly made drink. He picks the phone up and Eddie Mars asks the... (full context)
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Mars asks Marlowe if the private detective is looking for the missing Rusty Regan. Frustrated, Marlowe says he’s... (full context)
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After Mars hangs up, Marlowe calls the Sternwood house and gets through to Mr. Norris. He leaves a message for... (full context)
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A few minutes later, Marlowe’s phone starts ringing but he doesn’t answer it. It continues to ring on and off... (full context)
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In the morning, Marlowe reads the newspapers and sees the Sternwoods have been kept out of the stories as... (full context)
Chapter 20
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At the Missing Persons Bureau, Captain Gregory is considering Marlowe, who sits across a desk from him. Marlowe is asking the Captain for help on... (full context)
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Gregory asks if Marlowe knows District Attorney Wilde. Marlowe explains he’s an ex-cop who used to work for Wilde,... (full context)
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Looking back at Marlowe, Gregory asks if he’s after information on Rusty Regan. Marlowe replies “sure.” Gregory thinks General... (full context)
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Gregory tells Marlowe that Rusty is missing and won’t be found. The Captain then asks an assistant to... (full context)
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Marlowe asks for a photo of Eddie Mars’s wife, but the police don’t have one. Gregory... (full context)
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The Captain considers Marlowe a little more, and asks if he really thinks Eddie Mars killed both his own... (full context)
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As Marlowe leaves the office and drives away, a “gray Plymouth sedan” follows him. The detective leaves... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Marlowe sits in his office and thinks everything over. He is thinking about making a drink,... (full context)
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Marlowe makes the drink he’d promised himself. He thinks about Rusty, leaving his rich and good-looking... (full context)
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Marlowe thinks to himself that Mrs. Regan and Eddie have a good relationship, not just because... (full context)
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Marlowe sees that the matter is mostly tied up, and that the sensible option would be... (full context)
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That evening, Marlowe arrives at the “outwardly shabby” Cypress Club in an L.A. suburb. One of Mars’s men... (full context)
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Marlowe admits to coming to the casino during Prohibition. Mars tells the detective that Mrs. Regan... (full context)
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Mars tells Marlowe indirectly that he knows the detective got information from the Missing Persons Bureau already. Marlowe... (full context)
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Sipping his drink, Mars asks Marlowe if he’s looking for Rusty Regan. Marlowe responds noncommittally, adding that General Sternwood would like... (full context)
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Marlowe explains he wants to rule Rusty Regan out of the blackmail story. Mars tells the... (full context)
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Mars tells Marlowe that he wishes General Sternwood would keep someone like Marlowe on salary to control his... (full context)
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Marlowe says he’s going to see the casino for himself. Mars announces the two men are... (full context)
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As he leaves, Marlowe asks Mars if he’s having the detective tailed by the gray sedan. Mars seems worried,... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...a ballroom. Now, a Mexican band is taking a break amid the traditional interior decoration. Marlowe spots Mrs. Regan across the room as he leans on the bar. The bartender watches... (full context)
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...running the roulette table tells Mrs. Regan loudly that the table cannot meet her bet. Marlowe wanders over. (full context)
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Marlowe leaves before Mrs. Regan, and takes a walk outside, toward a cliff over the sea.... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Marlowe hears an unseen woman approaching. The man steps out, brandishes a gun, and demands the... (full context)
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Marlowe picks up the bag and returns it to the woman, who it turns out is... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan and Marlowe walk to the garage, where Mrs. Regan’s escort Larry Cobb is drunk and asleep in... (full context)
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Marlowe leads Mrs. Regan to his car. He drives toward home, and after a while stops... (full context)
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While he pours the whiskey, Marlowe tells Mrs. Regan that Mars’s casino was guarded by police during Prohibition. He asks her... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan tells Marlowe that she worries about her sister Carmen all the time, and often keeps things from... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan accuses Marlowe of being “a killer.” He explains he didn’t kill Geiger or Brody, though he would... (full context)
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Marlowe pays and he and Mrs. Regan get back in the car. They drive along a... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan asks Marlowe to drive to his apartment. He again asks her what Eddie Mars is holding over... (full context)
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Marlowe and Mrs. Regan are silent the whole drive back to the Sternwood mansion. After dropping... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Marlowe rushes home for a drink. As he steps into his apartment, he can sense that... (full context)
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Marlowe turns on more lights and moves a knight on his chessboard. Meanwhile, Carmen is giggling... (full context)
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Exasperated, Marlowe tells Carmen to get dressed. He explains he has a professional duty to General Sternwood.... (full context)
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Walking into the kitchen to make a drink, Marlowe promises Carmen she can have a drink if she dresses herself. When he returns she... (full context)
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Standing in his own house, surrounded by his few possessions, which nevertheless carry emotional meaning, Marlowe becomes angry. He threatens Carmen to dress and leave or he’ll throw her out naked.... (full context)
Chapter 25
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The next morning, Marlowe feels he has a hangover from women. (full context)
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As Marlowe leaves his building, he sees the Plymouth that has been tailing him. He drives around... (full context)
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In his office, Marlowe finds his check from General Sternwood. The small man enters Marlowe’s office, and introduces himself... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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Marlowe asks what the information is about, and Jones said it would help find Rusty Regan.... (full context)
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Jones tells Marlowe he noticed Rusty wasn’t around, and then noticed that Mars’s tough guy Lash Canino, who... (full context)
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For the $200, Jones tells Marlowe he can tell him where Mona Mars is now. That gets Marlowe’s attention. Jones says... (full context)
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Jones tells Marlowe to come to his apartment that evening with the money. Jones leaves, and Marlowe goes... (full context)
Chapter 26
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The rain has stopped but the roads are “flooded” as Marlowe drives to Jones’s office, “a nasty building.” Marlowe finds the office on the fourth floor,... (full context)
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Marlowe breaks into another door to Jones’s office, and stalks through the adjoining rooms to peer... (full context)
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Jones gives Canino a weak excuse for why Agnes wants to talk to Marlowe, which doesn’t go down well with Canino. Canino asks where Agnes is, but Jones won’t... (full context)
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Marlowe enters the room to find Jones dead in his chair. The detective sniffs the whiskey... (full context)
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Standing over Jones’s corpse, Marlowe marvels that the “little dead man” was so honorable. He searches Jones’s body, but doesn’t... (full context)
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Marlowe begins to leave the office when the phone rings. It’s Agnes. Marlowe tells her that... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Agnes is in the gray Plymouth, demanding the money from Marlowe with an outstretched hand. She asks what happened to Jones. Marlowe repeats the story that... (full context)
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Marlowe gives Agnes the money. Agnes says to wish her luck, as she’s had a hard... (full context)
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The rain is falling hard as Marlowe drives north. He passes through towns and empty fields. As he takes a curve, he... (full context)
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Marlowe hides his driver’s registration and takes a gun from the car, hiding another in a... (full context)
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Art invites Marlowe in, keeping his gun aimed at him, explaining there was a bank heist in the... (full context)
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Art sets off to sort out Marlowe’s tires. Canino pours himself and Marlowe a drink as they wait for Art. Marlowe sniffs... (full context)
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...of the repaired tires, and with no break in rhythm, he brings it down over Marlowe’s head. Unable to move his arms, Marlowe can’t reach his gun or protect his face... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Marlowe comes to, and sees a blonde woman in a sitting room. Marlowe sees he is... (full context)
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...woman explains that Canino looked through his pockets and found his wallet. In response to Marlowe’s question, she confirms they’re in the house near Art Huck’s garage, and that the two... (full context)
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Mona Mars doesn’t like it when Marlowe tells her he knows who she is. She says that’s a shame for him, as... (full context)
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Marlowe takes in the room as he tells Mona that Eddie killed Rusty. She asserts that... (full context)
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Mona becomes angry, repeating that Eddie is not a killer. Marlowe says Eddie orders Canino to kill, and that the detective has seen Canino kill. Wanting... (full context)
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Mona leaves the room and returns with a knife. She cuts the ropes holding Marlowe down, but doesn’t have the key for his handcuffs. Canino does. Mona explains she didn’t... (full context)
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Marlowe can stand but still has his hands cuffed behind his back. He tells Mona to... (full context)
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Marlowe tries to convince “Silver-Wig” to go with him, but she won’t. The detective warns Mona... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Marlowe doesn’t run into Canino or Art as he goes back to his car in the... (full context)
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Making it to his car through the driving rain, Marlowe finds that Art had fixed it, leaving it as another getaway car option. In his... (full context)
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Marlowe gets his gun ready at his side, as far round as he can reach it,... (full context)
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...opens one of the house’s windows and fires three gun shots into the driver’s seat. Marlowe yells in fake pain. Canino laughs from inside the house. (full context)
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...with Canino holding a gun to her back. Mona screams and says she can see Marlowe behind the driver’s wheel. Canino pushes her over and fires three more times into the... (full context)
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Marlowe gets up and calls Canino, who faces him. Marlowe shoots him four times and Canino... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Marlowe is sitting across from Captain Gregory at the Missing Persons Bureau. The cop has heard... (full context)
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...end up in prison anytime soon. That’s not what the country is like, he says. Marlowe sits in silence. (full context)
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Captain Gregory tells Marlowe that the private detective “played it smart” by telling the police everything about his encounter... (full context)
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Sighing, Gregory tells Marlowe he’s “too rough” for the Sternwoods. Marlowe gets up to leave, and Gregory asks the... (full context)
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Marlowe drives home and tries to sleep, but can’t. He makes a drink and tries to... (full context)
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Back in the present, Marlowe’s phone rings. The Sternwoods’ butler, Norris, is calling to invite Marlowe to a meeting with... (full context)
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...since the first time he rang the bell on the pristine mansion, it feels to Marlowe like a year has passed. He sees the knight in the stained glass window again,... (full context)
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Norris greets Marlowe and leads him to General Sternwood’s room, where the old man is resting in bed... (full context)
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The General asks Marlowe why he went to see Captain Gregory. Marlowe tells Sternwood he thought the old man... (full context)
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Continuing, Marlowe explains Norris thought the job was done when Geiger was out of the way, but... (full context)
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The General tells Marlowe to see the job through, offering the detective $1,000 if he can find Rusty, and... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Norris brings Marlowe his hat as he leaves, saying the General is not as weak as he looks.... (full context)
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Carmen asks Marlowe to teach her to shoot, down by the old oil wells. Marlowe asks for the... (full context)
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Marlowe gives Carmen the gun and goes to set up a tin can as a target.... (full context)
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With the gun pointed at his chest, Marlowe laughs and walks toward Carmen. She fires four times before he gets to her, and... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Marlowe walks up to Mrs. Regan’s sitting room, led by the maid Mathilda. Mrs. Regan calls... (full context)
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Marlowe tells Mrs. Regan he returned Carmen’s gun to her, and Mrs. Regan falls silent. He... (full context)
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Marlowe then asks Mrs. Regan what Eddie Mars has on her, and Mrs. Regan responds that... (full context)
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Continuing in a long monologue, Marlowe explains Eddie knew where Rusty was and didn’t want the police to find out, which... (full context)
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Marlowe tells Mrs. Regan that Carmen fired all five bullets in her gun at him, but... (full context)
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Instead, Marlowe is talking about when Rusty went missing. When Carmen shot him in anger too, anger... (full context)
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Mrs. Regan tells Marlowe she assumes he wants money and offers him $15,000. He attempts “not to sneer.” He... (full context)
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Unable to respond, Mrs. Regan remains silent. Marlowe tells her just to take Carmen away to an institution where she’ll be safe. Mrs.... (full context)
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Marlowe repeats his order, to take Carmen away. Mrs. Regan agrees, asking what he will do,... (full context)
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Outside, driving away in his car, Marlowe thinks that it doesn’t matter where you end up after death—“you were sleeping the big... (full context)