The Big Sleep
by Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep Justice and Judgment Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
It wasn't the law. They would have been there still, just about getting warmed up with their pieces of string and chalk and their cameras and dusting powders and their nickel cigars. They would have been very much there. (8.22)
Marlowe observes that the cops haven't discovered that Geiger had been murdered. What is the tone of Marlowe's commentary on what the room would have looked like if the police had been there? Is it sincere or mocking? What's Marlowe's attitude toward the law?
"You have to protect your father and your sister. You don't know what the police might turn up. It might be something they couldn't sit on" (11.54).
Marlowe says this to Vivian when she comes to tell him about the blackmail scheme involving Carmen's nude photos. He believes that Vivian is avoiding telling the police about the blackmail because the cops might go digging into her family's past. But Marlowe himself is trying to "turn up" information about the Sternwoods. What is the difference between Marlowe's work as a private detective and the work that the police perform?
"That kind of thinking is police business, Marlowe. If Geiger's death had been reported last night, the books might never have been moved from the store to Brody's apartment. The kid wouldn't have been led to Brody and wouldn't have killed him. Say Brody was living on borrowed time. His kind usually are. But a life is a life."
"Right," I said. "Tell that to your coppers next time they shoot down some scared petty larceny crook running away up an alley with a stolen spare." (18.43-44)
Oh, Shmoop smells a rivalry. Cronjager works for the law, but Marlowe's a private dick. Does that mean that Cronjager's trying to put Marlowe in his place by saying "that kind of thinking is police business"? And what's up with Marlowe's response—snarky much?