The Big Sleep Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Big Sleep

It's Los Angeles in the 1930s. Someone has been blackmailing ailing oil magnate General Sternwood, so he calls in 33-year-old private investigator Philip Marlowe to find out who it is and how serious a matter it might be. In short order, Marlowe meets the General's daughters -- wild teenager Carmen, and inveterate gambler Mrs. Regan, whose husband has gone missing for several weeks -- both beautiful and both trouble. Soon, the Sternwood's young chauffeur turns up fatally shot, and the trail leads through a bookstore that deals in fancy, locally-produced pornography and the nightclub of smooth tough guy Eddie Mars.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Private eye Phillip Marlowe is called upon by wealthy General Sternwood to quash the blackmail of the general's daughter. Marlowe also winds up looking for the missing husband of the general's other daughter. In the process, Marlowe must save both daughters.
The review of this Book prepared by Eddie Mars

This is one of the key works of noir crime detective fiction. Set in LA in the 30's, it approaches perfection in its detailed presentation of the seedy underlife of the rich and famous.
The review of this Book prepared by Kelly Whiting

Chapter Analysis of The Big Sleep

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 45%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 15%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   cooped up in spooky house    -   butler provides unemotional service    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   40's-50's


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California City?    -   Yes City:    -   Los Angeles Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Raymond Chandler Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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