Raymond Chandler "The Little Sister" pllot question (spoilery)
April 27, 2014 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Raymond Chandler's novels are well known for certain details that show up that are difficult to resolve (see below).

(SPOILER) At what point in "The Little Sister" does Marlow realize that Mavis Weld is part of the Quest family? I just finished reading it for the n-th time, and I always know this is a plot point coming up, but what do I keep missing?
posted by Guy Smiley to Media & Arts (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Funny, I'm just re-reading this, and I just got to the bit where he reveals this info. It's hard to tell exactly when he realizes, though. Marlowe's the kinda guy who plays his cards close to his chest, so it's not like he's ever going to say "...at that moment, the penny dropped..."

He knows by the time he has this exchange with Orfamay (Ch.15, on p111 of my edition):
"Who was the black sheep in your family?"

She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me. She stared at me stony-faced.

"You said Orrin wasn't the black sheep in your family. Remember? With a very peculiar emphasis. And when you mentioned your sister Leila, you sort of passed on quickly as if the subject was distasteful."

"I-I don't remember saying anything like that," she said very slowly.

"So I was wondering," I said. "What name does your sister Leila use in pictures?"

"Pictures?" she sounded vague. "Oh you mean motion pictures? Why I never said she was in pictures. I never said anything about her like that."

I gave her my big homely lopsided grin. She suddenly flew into a rage.
So it has to happen some time before then, and some time after he first meets her (in disguise, in the hotel room where the man with the toupee is killed). Does he know by the time he meets her at her apartment? I think he suspects by then, and the visit confirms it. This is from Ch.12:
"Did I hurt you?" she said softly.

I nodded.

"That's fine." She hauled off and slapped me again, harder if anything. "I think you'd better kiss me," she breathed. Her eyes were clear and limpid and melting. I glanced down casually. Her right hand was balled into a very businesslike fist. It wasn't too small to work with, either.

"Believe me," I said. "There's only one reason I don't. Even if you had your little black gun with you. Or the brass knuckles you probably keep on your night table."

She smiled politely.

"I might just happen to be working for you," I said. "And I don't go whoring around after every pair of legs I see." I looked down at hers. I could see them all right and the flag that marked the goal line was no larger than it had to be. She pulled the hostess gown together and turned and walked over to the little bar shaking her head.
Could the "one reason" be that he's already kissed her sister? That would fit his character, even if he does go on to make a different excuse about her being his client.

posted by ZipRibbons at 1:15 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

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