In the manner of an epilogue, in "Four Years Later," Hopkins has established himself as one of the big shots in the film industry:
"He spoke to the contract stars and the beauties who floated over from the other studios for a picture or two. They all came to him. Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, too, even Humphrey Bogart. And the women, Jeanne Crain, Doris Day, Jennifer Jones, Jane Wyman, Anne Baxter. They all came. And finer, less flinty fare in the up-andcomers: Janice Rule, Dorothy Malone, Jan Sterling, Carroll Baker. Every day. And, of course, the columnists—the rumor monkeys he worked like a carnival organ grinder. Walter still kicking around, Hedda, Louella, Sheilah, and all their lesser models—all dancing for him."
Chandler's femme fatale glowered at her destiny, she was more romantically evil and her sexuality more abstract; his hero Philip Marlowe was naïvely incorruptible and distant toward women. Abbott's femme fatales (if we can call them so) are imperfect, suffer deep fears and painful resentments. And there are no smooth knights or tough guys who can heal their despair, just abusive bosses, sometimes a subspecies of man, or grifters who stroll through desolate spots, only to find their own scams in the end looking back at them in the mirror:
"There was something lost. He could look in the mirror a thousand times and he would never see it again. He’d snuffed it out. Had he known he’d never get it back… Had he known it would be gone forever… He opened the drawer to his bedside table and dug under the handkerchiefs, phone book, cigarettes, matchbooks. He pulled it out. It was thin as a cobweb now, this postcard. It had become delicate with time. Postcards, after all, aren’t meant to last. They’re less than a letter. They’re a fleeting thing. A whisper in the ear reminding you, 'Merry Lake’s Waiting for You.'”