Lunchtime read part II: The Big Sleep

“What did it matter where you lay once you wee 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. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.”

The book ends with Marlowe in devastating form ripping apart any attempts to stop him spelling out the truth. You wait for this moment for 215 pages and when it comes it is well worth waiting for.

Highlights from chapters XXXI and XXXII

* Marlowe stops after getting his commission from the general to find Rusty and talks to Carmen the younger crazier daughter and she asks him to teach her to shoot after he hands her back her gun he picked up when she fired at Brody

* She directs him out to a remote abandoned farm and oil works and Marlowe wanders off 30 years to set up the target but as he gets within 10 feet of her she starts shooting at him and falls into an unconscious fit after he manages to grab her

* He takes her home and then confronts her sister Vivian and tells her what he thinks has been happening – that Carmen shot Regan and she had to pay Eddie Mars $15,000 to hush it up but in turn Mars was going to blackmail her out of her fortune – and then tells her that he filled the gun with blanks and that’s why he has come back unlike Regan

* She admits it and Marlowe demands that she takes her sister away to get cured from her condition but threatens to spill the beans if she has not left town in three days and then despite the likely trouble he decides to head out and tell Eddie Mars its all off

A full review probably on Sunday…


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