The Big Sleep (1939) is a hardboiled crime novel by Raymond Chandler, the first in his acclaimed series about detective Philip Marlowe. The work has been adapted twice into film, once in 1946 and again in 1978.
The story is noted for its complexity, with many characters double-crossing each other and many secrets being exposed throughout the narrative. The title is a euphemism for death; it refers to a rumination in the book about "sleeping the big sleep".
In 1999, the book was voted one of Le Monde's "100 Books of the Century." In 2005, it was included in "TIME's List of the 100 Best Novels."
Private investigator Philip Marlowe is called to the mansion of the elderly and paraplegic General Sternwood, who asks Marlowe to deal with a blackmailer Arthur Gwynn Geiger, apparently a purveyor of rare books. Geiger is involved with the General's daughter Carmen, and makes her sign promissory notes. Before Marlowe leaves, Vivian, the General's other daughter, queries Marlowe about the nature of his visit. She is under the impression that he is being hired to look for her husband, Rusty Regan, who disappeared about a month before.
Marlowe visits Geiger's bookshop, where he discovers that...