The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback Hardcover – Oct 15 2002
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From Library Journal
It was a big year for Chandler: not only did Knopf release his full canon in this hardcover trio, which includes some long-out-of-print stories, but Vintage also released a new set of paperbacks (LJ 7/02) of all his books. (LJ 9/15/02)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Raymond Chandler is a master.” –New York Times
“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” –Ross Macdonald
“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” –Paul Auster
“The prose rises to heights of unself-conscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action-tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision…The reader is captivated by Chandler’s seductive prose.” –Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books
“Chandler is one of my favorite writers. His books bear rereading every few years. The novels are a perfect snapshot of an American past, and yet the ruined romanticism of the voice is as fresh as if they were written yesterday.” –Jonathan Lethem
“Chandler seems to have invented our post-war dream lives–the tough but tender hero, the dangerous blonde, the rain-washed sidewalks, and the roar of the traffic (and the ocean) in the distance…Chandler is the classic lonely romantic outsider for our times, and American literature, as well as English, would be the poorer for his absence.” –Pico Iyer
With a new Introduction by Tom Hiney
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Six novels later, I'm still reading Chandler novels, and still finding each and every one different, interesting and intriguing. The main character Marlowe is a wisecracking detective, wary of women - whom he obviously mistrusts - except for the "bad type of women", for whom he does not particularly care. He is also a complex, intelligent man, often an altruist who goes to some extraordinary lengths for his clients, even when he's not paid.
Novels are usually set in 30's/40's Hollywood and Bay City (which is since called something else), and are especially nostalgic, if you've lived in the surrounding areas.
Chandler's writing is funny and unique - the stories - all told in first person, are written so that the reader is both aware of Marlowe's conscious thoughts, and at the same time, when the ending or some pivotal point in the story arrives - is not. This point is not easy to describe, but it works extremely well - the stories are always amusing, captivating, and suspenseful.
I will easily recommend any Chandler novel for anyone interested in mysteries, as well as to those that enjoy unconventional styles of storytelling.
The usual job for a private investigator is to locate a missing person (skip-tracing). Serious crimes are left to the police. But in fiction it is the private investigator who solves crimes for the entertainment of the readers. It was different for Sherlock Holmes in the late 19th century.
The Lady in the Lake.
Philip Marlowe is asked to locate a missing wife who said she was going for a divorce. He goes to a vacation home by this lake in the mountains. He inspects her last known location. Another wife also went missing. A body is found in the lake! He learns the wife’s old boyfriend is also dead. Was there some scandal that involved a doctor’s nurse? The lack of survivors means no story for the newspapers.
The Little Sister.
Philip Marlowe is asked to find a missing brother who moved from Kansas. He visits the last known address. Then people are found murdered. Marlowe finds a claim check for photographs. The investigation continues until the secret it revealed in the last pages. Can a snapshot of a couple lead to murders?
The Long Goodbye.
One morning an old friend asks Marlowe for a ride to an airport. When Marlowe returns home he finds police detectives waiting for him. The man’s wife was murdered! Marlowe is held until somebody paid a lawyer to represent him. There was little in the newspapers. Marlowe is released after a shocking surprise. Could Terry kill in such a brutal manner? If not, was he just a fall guy? Mrs Roger Wade visits Marlowe at home; her husband has been missing for three days. Marlowe uses his one clue and investigates to find Roger Wade.
Philip Marlowe received an early morning telephone call to follow a passenger on a train. He knows little about this job, and learns others are interested for their own reasons. Was she a murderess who got off because of a quirk in the law? Is there a nasty blackmailer pestering her? Will somebody stop him? Marlowe has the same kind of adventures with the same kind of people that you find in his earlier work.