Study Guide

The Big Sleep Chapter 7

By Raymond Chandler

Chapter 7

  • Marlowe tells us that Geiger's house is ornately decorated with Chinese cushions, embroidered silks hanging on the walls, and oriental furniture. There is an odd smell in the room, including the scent of ether. 
  • Marlowe sees Carmen sitting on a chair. Completely naked. Yep, you read that right. Carmen seems unaware of her surroundings and has a strange empty expression on her face. Looks like she's been drugged. 
  • At Carmen's feet is the lifeless body of Geiger, who has been shot.
  • Marlowe then notices a camera pointing at Carmen. The camera is hidden inside a totem pole with a flash bulb attached to it. Marlowe pieces together all the clues: the bright white light he had seen a few minutes earlier came from the camera flash and the scream had been Carmen's surprise when the flash went off. 
  • Carmen is incapable of dressing herself so Marlowe helps her into her clothes. 
  • Marlowe then inspects the totem pole, and realizes that there's no plateholder in the camera. The camera film is missing. He searches the whole house and finds nothing except a blue leather book with notes written in some kind of code. So he pockets the notebook and drives Carmen home in her car.