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Chapter 16

After getting rid of Carmen, Marlowe is back in Brody's apartment, holding Carmen's small gun in one hand. Marlowe asks where Brody works. Brody responds that he works in insurance for Puss Walgreen. Marlowe wants to know more, especially how Brody got Carmen's picture. Furthermore, Marlowe wants to make sure that Brody is not going to tell anyone that Carmen was there that night with her gun. Brody asks to be paid for both his information and his secrecy. Marlowe says it is possible for him to pay a small sum, nothing too big.

Brody claims that a "guy" slipped the picture to him, but then he adds to the story. Brody claims to have been watching Geiger's house because he wanted to get into the "book racket." He saw Vivian Sternwood's Buick park nearby and then he left. This would appear to make sense, as Owen Taylor had been driving Vivian's car the night he murdered Geiger. Brody further adds that he heard the gunshots and followed Taylor as he ran away. At some point Taylor stopped, and Brody went up to him pretending to be a cop. Brody hit Taylor on the head and stole the plateholder from the camera, not knowing what it held.

Then, after developing the negative, Brody came to realization that Geiger was the one who had been shot—especially when he did not turn up at his workplace the next day. Brody then decided to move in on Geiger's business. Marlowe appears satisfied by Brody's explanation, at least in the sense that he believes Brody did not murder anyone. However, Marlowe continues to question Brody, asking him whether he hid the body. Brody claims to know nothing about this. The conversation continues until the doorbell rings once again.

Brody opens the door and is shot dead. Marlowe runs after the gunman, realizing that it is the boy from Geiger's store, Carol Lundgren, who has killed Brody in the belief that Brody killed Geiger, Lundgren's lover.

Chapter 17

Marlowe takes Lundgren to Geiger's house. They get into a fistfight when Marlowe asks Lundgren to open Geiger's house with the key he is sure Lundgren possesses. Marlowe wins the fight, ties Lundgren up, and beats him unconscious. The resilient Lundgren, however, has only one response to everything Marlowe says: "Go —— yourself."

Marlowe opens the house and drags Lundgren inside with him. He looks around and discovers that the smell of incense is coming from the room across from Geiger's, the one with the masculine, bare air. As it turns out, Geiger's body is lying on the bed of that room, with the two strips of Chinese silk from the wall spread upon him like a cross. There are candles and incense burning around him.