Study Guide

The Big Sleep Chapter 2

By Raymond Chandler

Chapter 2

  • Norris takes Marlowe to the sick and dying General Sternwood, who's sitting in his wheelchair in the greenhouse. 
  • Marlowe feels like he's suffocating in the sticky humidity of the greenhouse, which is home to dozens of orchids. 
  • The General tells Marlowe that he's being blackmailed. And not for the first time. In the past, a man named Joe Brody had blackmailed him and the General was forced to pay $5000 to protect Carmen.
  • Now the General is being blackmailed for $1000 by Arthur Geiger, who claims that Carmen owes him money from gambling debts. Geiger runs a business selling rare antique books, and the General wants Marlowe to uncover what Geiger is really up to.
  • Sternwood also mentions in passing that his son-in-law, Rusty Regan, has disappeared. 
  • Marlowe leaves the greenhouse and Norris tells him that "Mrs. Regan"—a.k.a. Vivian Sternwood—wants to see him.