The story begins with a dramatic scene where a private investigator, Marlowe, rescues a drunken stranger as he is dumped right outside a night club. They become friends and even help in his addiction to alcohol. They become attached and one day he is requested by Lennox to take him to the airport as he flees a crime scene. Marlowe is subsequently drawn into a vicious net of corruption, decadence, and murder that threatens his life and also career. Preceding events for instance the faked suicide of Lenox leads to a series of events including his release. Such events however only act to encourage Marlowe to continue with his quest to establish the truth and uncover the mystery that has lead to loss of lives. As the story progresses, Marlowe becomes involved with several beautiful women, a drunken writer who seems to be under some sought of stress, and a crowd of other terrific characters. The story goes on and Marlowe takes up another job with the Wades. The wife had a relationship with Lennox in earlier life but keeps it a secret. However this comes to light after Wade, a writer, is found dead from an alleged suicide. Again Marlowe is among the top suspects. He contrives to have a suicide note left by Sylvia Lennox published one of the local papers. This publicly clears Terry Lennox of all crimes accused and embarrasses Harlan Potter and the entire police department. This also prompts Menendez to surprise attack Marlowe since he did not heed his warning to drop the matter. Towards the end of the novel, a disguised Lennox (Cisco Maioranos) visits Marlowe in his office. Out of a debt dating back from the war days, Menendez and Randy Starr paid to have Lennox’s suicide faked and also provided him a new appearance with plastic surgery.
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