It’s the 1930’s and Carmen, the fun-loving daughter of a wealthy old man named General Sternwood, has posed for some naked pictures. You just don’t do that in the 30s, and so the holder of said photos starts trying to blackmail her old man. General calls in private investigator, Phillip Marlowe, to resolve the mess and, during the conversation he adds that his older daughter Vivian’s husband has disappeared. The missing husband’s name is Rusty Regan, and while Vivian has been loosing interest in the guy, the general loves his friendship and company.
Marlowe takes the case, and in a few days, half a dozen people are dead including the pornographer, the little guy who started making time with the pornographer’s girlfriend, the General’s chauffer, the hit man for the casino where Vivian likes to gamble, and almost Marlowe himself… twice.
There’s more, but you get the idea. Raymond Chandler spins this tricky web and then deftly untangles it. There is also the author’s usual bouquet of sweet similes and metaphors and even some general musings on the big sleep (death) itself. A very entertaining read.