Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 248
The Long Goodbye is one of dozens of novels and short stories by Raymond Chandler that feature private investigator Philip Marlowe, who is witness to a crime. The novel takes place around the death of one Terry Lennox, who has ostensibly killed his wife and left town to commit suicide. In a typical gumshoe detective fashion, the killer turns out to be the wife of a New York writer, Roger Wade, who had been Terry's legal wife before being assumed dead in World War II.
The narrator (investigator Marlowe), introduces Lennox as follows: "The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox, he was drunk in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith outside of the terrace of The Dancers" (1) This is is an apt description of Lennox, who will remain known as a lush and boheme throughout the majority of the novel.
When Roger asks Mrs. Wade (the wife of the recovering writer) if she knew the late Mrs. Lennox (the wife of Terry, whom Terry was accused of killing), she replies, "No, I didn't know her personally. I knew who she was. Didn't I tell you that? . . . What did you ask if that had anything to do with my wanting to hire you? . . . Did Roger tell you he knew her?" (151). A close examination of this quote (especially in retrospect) reveals that Mrs. Wade is nervous at the thought that her crime could be discovered. She will admit to this crime only in a suicide note by the novel's close.
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