Important Motifs


  • Stained glass window – knight rescuing a lady
  • Chess board – Marlowe moves the knight

The knight in this book relates to Marlowe, it implies that he rescues the day, working unpaid overtime and does not take advantage of Carmen when he finds her in his bed. Although he discovers the truth about Rusty’s death, he does keep this from his client, however, this can be seen as an act of kindness, so as not to hurt or upset his client.


  • Thunder
  • Rain
  • Sun

Chandler uses the weather as a way of depicting the mood at stages throughout of the book, for the majority of the book it is raining and thundering, this helps set the mood for the scenes of death, upset, bribery and murder. When the story is over and everything has been resolved, Chandler uses the sun as a way of telling the reader that the mystery is over and that everything is going to be alright.


  • Beautiful, thrive in intense heat
  • Strange odour and their petals feel like human flesh

Chandler uses the orchid as a way to show LA, the city is beautiful yet busy and has its criminals and alcohol problems, the beauty also relates to the two young women, their sensual appeal however, the book shows their layers pealing away, revealing something much nastier.

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