Farewell, My Lovely is a 1940 novel by Raymond Chandler, the second novel he wrote featuring Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe. It was adapted for the screen three times.
A chance encounter (we are in late March, 1939) with hulking ex-con Moose Malloy on Los Angeles' Central Avenue, the part that is "not yet all negro", gets Marlowe into all kinds of trouble. Just released from prison, Malloy is looking for his one-time girlfriend, red-haired Velma Valento, whom he last saw eight years ago. The nightclub where she used to sing, Florian's, is now a black "dine and dice emporium", and no one there has ever heard of her. Malloy flees after casually killing the black boss of the club, and Marlowe, the only white witness to Malloy's mayhem, is asked by a detective on the case, Nulty, to look for Velma. He learns the address of Florian's widow, a drunken middle-aged floozy, and visits her. The widow tells him, unconvincingly, that Velma is dead.
Later that afternoon, Marlowe is hired by Lindsay Marriott to assist in handing over an $8,000 ransom for a rare jade necklace owned by a woman friend of Marriott's. However, at the isolated meeting point—a lonely canyon in the middle of the...