The Long Goodbye Additional Summary

Raymond Chandler

Summary

Private detective Philip Marlowe encounters the alcoholic Terry Lennox, a World War II veteran who had been wounded and who had spent time as a prisoner of war. Lennox is married to the incredibly wealthy Sylvia Lennox, daughter of multimillionaire Harlan Potter. When Marlowe first meets Lennox, Lennox’s wife Sylvia dumps him from her car for being too drunk. Marlowe helps Lennox, and a sort of friendship ensues; the two of them meet occasionally for gimlets at a bar called Victor’s.

One night, Lennox appears at Marlowe’s house, asking him for a ride to the airport in Tijuana, just across the Mexican border. Marlowe realizes that something drastic has happened but will not let Lennox implicate him as an accessory by telling his story. Marlowe drives Lennox to Tijuana and is arrested upon his return to Los Angeles, where he spends several days in jail. He learns that Lennox has been accused of savagely killing his wife. Despite harsh treatment by the police, Marlowe refuses to divulge any information about Lennox. Before long, Marlowe is released. He finds that Lennox has presumably killed himself in a small town in Mexico, leaving behind a confession. A gangster named Mendy Menendez warns him not to pursue the Lennox case. Upon returning home, Marlowe finds a letter from Lennox waiting for him, written before his confession. It also requests that Marlowe not investigate the case, and it contains a five-thousand-dollar bill.

Before long, Marlowe is contacted by publisher Howard Spencer and Eileen Wade, the wife of Roger Wade, a writer of popular historical swashbuckler novels. Wade, not for the first time, has disappeared in an alcoholic haze; Eileen and Howard Spencer wish to hire Marlowe to find Wade and bring him back. Marlowe is at first reluctant but finally takes the case. Marlowe soon discovers that Wade has been in the care of a shady physician, Dr. Verringer, who exorts monery from the alcoholics and drug addicts whom he treats.

Marlowe brings Wade home, and before long Spencer and Wade have another proposition...

(The entire section is 841 words.)

Bibliography

Babener, Liahna K. “Raymond Chandler’s City of Lies.” In Los Angeles in Fiction, edited by David Fine. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. The chapter on Chandler is a study of the image patterns in his novels. The volume as a whole is an interesting discussion of the importance of a sense of place, especially one as mythologically rich as Los Angeles. Includes notes.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., and Richard Layman. Hardboiled Mystery Writers: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002. A handy supplemental reference that includes interviews, letters, and previously published studies. Illustrated.

Hamilton, Cynthia S. “Raymond Chandler.” In Western and Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction: From High Noon to Midnight. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1987. This study provides unusual insight into Chandler’s detective fiction from the historical and generic perspective of the American Western novel. Includes three chapters on the study of formula literature, a bibliography, and an index.

Hiney, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997. Supplements but does not supersede Frank MacShane’s biography. Hiney makes good use of memoirs, critical studies, and new archival material documenting Chandler’s life and...

(The entire section is 452 words.)