Hard-boiled detective fiction at its best: Raymond Chandler's best loved novel, The Big Sleep, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. 'I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.' Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is hired by wheelchair-bound General Sternwood to discover who is indulging in some petty blackmail. A weary, old man, Sternwood just wants the problem to go away. But Marlowe finds he has his work cut out just keeping Sternwood's wild, devil-may-care daughters out of trouble as they prowl LA's dirtiest and darkest streets. And pretty soon, he's up to his neck in hoodlums and corpses . . .