The story opens when mousy Orfamay Quest first phones and then visits Philip Marlowe's office in search of a detective. Orfamay is a "small, neat, rather prissy-looking girl with primly smooth brown hair and rimless glasses" from Manhattan, Kansas, who has come to Los Angeles to search for her older brother Orrin. Orrin had recently come out to nearby Bay City (a fictional tough town that appears in many Chandler novels, modeled on Santa Monica) to work as an engineer for the Cal-Western Aircraft Company, but has in recent months stopped writing to Orfamay and their mother. Orfamay describes her concern to Marlowe and asks that he find her brother. Although Orfamay seems the epitome of the innocent, small town girl, Chandler foreshadows that she is not what she seems by having Marlowe say in his initial description of her "and nobody ever looked less like Lady Macbeth."
Copyright: Public Domain in Canada