Raymond Chandler

Besides writing novels, short stories, and poetry, famous author Raymond Chandler also wrote some screenplays. Chandler worked on a movie called “Strangers on A Train” that was later directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and “Double Indemnity” (for which he got one of two best original screenplay Oscar nominations), and “The Blue Dahlia” (for which he was nominated for his other best original screenplay Oscar). He also wrote some other screenplays with other people. These screenplays were very influential in the American film noir genre.

Chandler quit his civil service job, because he hated doing it. He took reporting jobs with Bristol Western Gazette and Daily Express papers. He would find that he was not cut out to be a journalist, but would continue to write reviews and romantic poetry. An writer who was older than Chandler that Chandler met named Richard Barham Middleton committed suicide after meeting him. The event made an impact on Chandler because he felt that the writer had more talent than Chandler could ever hope to possess, and he did not think that he could ever write anything as good as he.

He decided to take up writing, in 1932, during the Great Depression after losing his job in the oil business, where he was an executive. He was forty-four at the time. He sold his first story in 1933 to Black Mask, which is a popular pulp fiction magazine. During his time as a writer, he would write some classic detective stories that are now considered to be literature, classics, and masterpieces. Chandler is considered one of the founders of the hard-boiled detective.

Raymond Chandler was born in late July of 1888 in Chicago, Illinois. For almost fifty years of Chandler’s life (from 1907-1956), he lived in and was a citizen of Britain. The rest of his life, he spent in America, including the last three years of his life. It was in America that he would die at the age of seventy, in La Jolla, California. At the time of his death, he was working on another Marlowe story that would later be finished by Robert B. Parker, it was called “Poodle Springs”. He only had four chapters finished at the time of his death and shares a writing credit with Parker.

“The Big Sleep” is the first novel in the “Philip Marlowe” series. Philip Marlowe, a private investigator, goes out to a home that is owned by the elderly and wealthy General Sternwood during the month of October. Sternwood wants Marlowe to take care of a bookseller named Arthur Geiger, who is trying to blackmail Sternwood’s daughter Carmen, a wild young woman. After putting things right, something else that Sternwood said still nags at him that is very vital to the rest of the case.

Fans of the novel found that the novel features a wonderful story, great characters, great dialogue, and just a fun read for whoever wants to read a classic noir novel. Some found that even if they had read the book before, they were still able to see something new that they had missed the first time they had read the novel. Chandler takes you right into the story and makes you a part of things, and with a lot of style to boot. Some liked the way that the main character, Marlowe, talks about interesting ideas that do not tie in to the story that much, but are still interesting to read about. Some felt that, at times, Chandler makes you work harder than some authors writing mysteries today do, feeling that Marlowe makes leaps that are not always obvious.

Some readers did not like how dated the movie is and how full the novel is of ancient ideas like being sexist or homophobic.

“Farewell, My Lovely” is the second novel in the “Philip Marlowe” series. Marlowe is looking into a missing persons case that seems to be going nowhere when he sees a felon (Moose Malloy) going right on into a nightclub called Florian’s looking for his ex-girlfriend (Velma Valento). Due to the fact that the club was sold not long ago, no one knows his girlfriend. Moose kills the black owner of the club and escapes. Lieutenant Nulty, an LAPD detective that is assigned the case does not care about a black man getting killed. Marlowe tells Nulty he should find Malloy’s ex-girlfriend, but does not and leaves that to Marlowe.

Fans of the novel loved how quotable the novel was, even more than the first novel and great writing and a solid plot to keep readers hooked from page one. For modern times, some enjoyed how sexist, racist, and homophobic he is; back when the novel was written, there was no such thing as politically correct. The readers of this novel know why Chandler is such a popular and talented guy when it comes to noir fiction. He is so great at it, why wouldn’t he be? The voice that he writes with can be seen from a mile away and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to look away from.

Some readers did not like how dated some of the ideas that are expressed are in the novel, finding that there was a lot of politically uncorrect things in the novel. Some found that the novel is just too hard to get into, too hard to figure out the slang or the language that Chandler is using because it is an older book.

“Farewell, My Lovely” has been adapted into a movie three times, the biggest being “Murder My Sweet”. The biggest adaptation of one of his works is probably “The Big Sleep” in 1946 which starred Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall. The rest of his novels, except for “Playback”, have been adapted into a movie. A lot of Chandler’s Marlowe work has been adapted multiple times for either a movie, the stage, television movie, or radio.

“The Big Sleep” has made its way on to classic novels lists and best books of the century lists such as Le Monde’s One Hundred Books of the Century and Time’s List of the 100 Best Novels. His legacy as a crime author is so large that an award was set up in 1986, called the Raymond Chandler Award, to pay tribute to an author who shows a exceptional ability to use the mystery genre in all of its forms.

Books in order of publication by series:

Philip Marlowe Books

The Big Sleep(1939) 
Farewell, My Lovely(1940) 
The High Window(1942) 
The Lady in the Lake(1943) 
The Little Sister(1949) 
The Long Goodbye(1953) 
Poodle Springs(1989) 

Philip Marlowe Collection

The Simple Art of Murder(1950)
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