Study Guide

The Big Sleep Chapter 5

By Raymond Chandler

Chapter 5

  • Marlowe goes to a phone booth to call Geiger but there's no answer. Big surprise.
  • So he decides to check out other bookstores near Geiger's store and finds one run by a dark-haired woman wearing glasses. 
  • Marlowe asks her the same questions he asked the girl at Geiger's shop, but this time, the woman knows the answers. She catches on that Marlowe is asking a trick question because the book he wants doesn't exist. 
  • She gives up the goods, and Marlowe gets a physical description of Geiger from the woman.
  • As Marlowe leaves the bookstore, it starts to rain. He opens the package he'd been holding. It's exactly what he thought it would be: pornography. 
  • Geiger's racket is obvious by now. The guy loans out pornographic books from the back room of his store, fronting the whole operation as a rare bookstore.