Supposedly Chandler did not much like this story himself and regarded it as inauthentic, a story written for Saturday Evening Post rather than one of the pulps he usually favored. It has all of the elements of a typical pulp crime story: a house dick, a femme fatale, the man she is waiting for, the man who is waiting for him. But a heck of a lot of the story spends its time describing the hotel--in fact, we know more about the hotel than we do about any of the characters. Perhaps you need to read more of this sort of story to get it. I have to admit though, I could draw a picture of that hotel from lobby, to bar, to elevator, to penthouses. If I could draw, that is.
In their anthology of hardboiled fiction, editors Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian regard the story as “a superbly atmospheric night-piece” and respond, “Chandler was a perceptive critic of others’ work, although less so of his own.” Indeed, still frequently included in anthologies, the story today is considered by many readers and critics as among his best and most polished (with a superb twist ending), and it has even been adapted for film twice, most recently in 1993 as an episode of Showtime’s Fallen Angels directed by Tom Hanks.
From the website Story of the Week, Library of Congress,