Study Guide

The Big Sleep Chapter 23

By Raymond Chandler

Chapter 23

  • Marlowe hears a woman's footsteps, and the masked man jumps out holding a gun.
  • The woman is Vivian, and the man demands the money she's just won at roulettes. 
  • Marlowe surprises the masked man, and manages to get the gun from him. Marlowe's a bit of a gun magnet if you ask us.
  • Vivian sarcastically thanks Marlowe for his help, but she seems shaken by the holdup.
  • They drive to a drugstore and Marlowe asks Vivian what Mars has on her, but she avoids the question, saying only that Mars probably sent the masked man to recover the money she had won at Mars' expense.
  • Back in the car, Vivian expresses her attraction to Marlowe and kisses him. 
  • Although Marlowe enjoys the kiss, he won't be distracted from the task at hand, so he again asks Vivian what Mars has on her. He thinks that the holdup was all an act, maybe even staged to throw Marlowe off track. 
  • But Vivian becomes upset and refuses to answer.
  • Marlowe drops Vivian off at her house, and their conversation again ends on a bad note.