Playback (Raymond Chandler)

‘Playback’, Chandler’s final completed novel, this is a haunting follow-up to ‘The Long Goodbye’. The prose sweeps me away with its speed and economy, and in this novel, more than any of Chandler’s others, I feel Marlowe’s humanity. In this last time around, Marlowe gets railroaded into a job tailing a well–endowed redhead, which quickly turns into a muddled mystery involving blackmail, murder, gangsters, and a crappy tourist-trap town. [Read more…]

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The Long Goodbye (Raymond Chandler)

The Long Goodbye is widely considered Raymond Chandler’s swan song to arguably literature’s greatest detective. Often cited as the gold standard in crime fiction, this one snapped up the Edgar Award for best novel in 1955, is listed on countless “best of” compilations, and has influenced a generation of mystery and crime writers. It’s been noted that a few of the characters in the novel were used as a way for Chandler to clear his mind. He used them to express his innermost thoughts on the state of society, his frustrations as a writer and his internal struggle with whether or not he should commit suicide. [Read more…]

The Lady In The Lake (Raymond Chandler)

Raymond Chandler is not only one of the finest writers in the English language: he’s the gold standard for detective fiction. But sometimes when I read him I wish he could have found a way to break out of the formula and really let his imagination loose—let all the poetry and over-too-soon bit parts fill the page. He seems more interested in everything else than the so-called plot. On the other hand, maybe he hit it just right. The weirdness that is so compelling on the periphery of his writing might fall apart under the harsh light of center stage. Chandler’s passing-glance encounters always have the quality of real, observed life. One of the least fussy writers who ever lived, his descriptions are effortlessly evocative. [Read more…]

THE BIG SLEEP (1946 United States)

big sleep 1The Big Sleep’s greatest strength is its delightfully droll dialogue. This film almost defies plot analysis but it doesn’t really matter. It is enjoyable whether you are watching for the first or fiftieth time. Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe was a frequent sufferer at the hands of cops and hoods and in many ways a loser. Humphrey Bogart’s masculine charisma on the big screen turned him into a winner. [Read more…]

FAREWELL MY LOVELY (Raymond Chandler)

9780140109795Private eye Philip Marlowe waltzes from one improbable scenario to another among the corrupt and wealthy of pre-WW2 California. He has an eye for detail that Sherlock Holmes would envy. He frequently talks to himself out loud. Sometimes he hears a voice replying and realizes it’s his own. [Read more…]

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