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The Lady in the Lake [Paperback]

Raymond Chandler
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 12 1988 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
A couple of missing wives—one a rich man's and one a poor man's—become the objects of Marlowe's investigation. One of them may have gotten a Mexican divorce and married a gigolo and the other may be dead. Marlowe's not sure he cares about either one, but he's not paid to care.

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From Library Journal

Chandler is not only the best writer of hardboiled PI stories, he's one of the 20th century's top scribes, period. His full canon of novels and short stories is reprinted in trade paper featuring uniform covers in Black Lizard's signature style. A handsome set for a reasonable price.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Raymond Chandler is a master." --The New York Times

“[Chandler] wrote as if pain hurt and life mattered.” --The New Yorker

“Chandler seems to have created the culminating American hero: wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical and rebellious.” --Robert B. Parker, The New York Times Book Review

“Philip Marlowe remains the quintessential urban private eye.” --Los Angeles Times

“Nobody can write like Chandler on his home turf, not even Faulkner. . . . An original. . . . A great artist.” —The Boston Book Review

“Raymond Chandler was one of the finest prose writers of the twentieth century. . . . Age does not wither Chandler’s prose. . . . He wrote like an angel.” --Literary Review

“[T]he prose rises to heights of unselfconscious 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.” --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” —Ross Macdonald

“Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude.” --Erle Stanley Gardner

“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” --Paul Auster

“[Chandler]’s the perfect novelist for our times. He takes us into a different world, a world that’s like ours, but isn’t. ” --Carolyn See

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Back when men were men and women were dames. May 3 2004
The setting of 1940's California is great, and that is actually when Chandler wrote this book. It's a classic noir mystery and I couldn't help thinking as I was reading that it should have been played by Bogie as Philip Marlowe and Bacall as the femme fatale in this story. This would make a great movie actually. It's a twist on the classic missing female story. Marlowe has been hired by a big wig to find his wife. She's been missing for a month. As Marlowe tries to follow her tracks he gets pitted against some pretty desperate men, and he manages to get knocked on the head at least a couple of times before he figures out what happened to the woman he is hired to find. Chandler's characterizations are great. Marlowe is wonderful, but there are some really good bit players in this one too - for example Patton- the Sheriff from San Bernadino is actually quite wonderful. A good old boy that happens to be as sharp as a tack and a crack shot too. Good stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superior work of detective fiction. March 3 2004
Chandler's Philip Marlowe is the prototype for all the hard-boiled private eyes who have come down the literary pike after him. Marlowe is never fully dressed unless he has a cigarette dangling from his lip. Always ready with cynical quips, he consumes distilled spirits the way the rest of us take in oxygen. And when it comes to solving a case, Marlowe never bends the rules. No, he ignores the rules completely.
The Lady in the Lake starts off with Marlowe being hired by a business executive, who wants to locate his missing wife. She's described as being quite a handful. Young, blond and two times a maniac.....klepto and nympho. Within about two days, Marlowe runs across two dead bodies and finds that a death ruled a suicide 18 months before is really a covered up murder. The plot contains many unexpected twists and turns that serve to keep the reader interested and very curious about what is going to happen next. If I have any criticism of this book at all, its that a couple of the many plot devices seem a bit contrived.
In describing people, places and things, Chandler does not spare the adjectives. His remarkable prose provides very vivid images of what is happening and thereby allows the reader to be transported right into the narrative.
So, do yourself a favor and read The Lady in the Lake. You'll find out why Raymond Chandler's stellar reputation is so richly deserved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Boiled Classic June 23 2003
I really enjoyed this book because of its fast pace and very involved plot. Philip Marlowe is really at his best here. By the end he has been beaten, manipulated, and framed for murder but manages to solve the mystery and come out as clean as a fat man's plate. One major element of the plot was a bit obvious however, namley the identity of the lady in the lake. There was still much to be revealed and discovered. This may be my favorite of the Marlowe series thus far. They are all great, so that is saying something.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Weaker Marlowe Entry Still Worth Reading Jan. 25 2003
By Tony C
THE LADY IN THE LAKE is one of Raymond Chandler's weaker Philip Marlowe novels, if not the weakest. (I say "weakest" as opposed to "worst," because, to paraphrase the cliche, reading Chandler is a bit like sex: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.) But that's just it. It's not that this is a bad read by any stretch - it's head and shoulders above the best mysteries taking up space on the bestseller lists, and most of the mysteries ever published. But, because this is Chandler, it's held to a higher standard than disposable airline reads, and by that yardstick, it falls short.
The story of this (the first Marlowe novel written after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor), like all in the series, starts simply enough: Our Hero is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his missing wife. And like all Marlowe stories, the case soon becomes much more complicated, leading Marlowe on a trail of twists and turns through some of the darkest shadows of his world until, at last, all is revealed.
It is a fun trail to follow for the reader, if not always for Marlowe. Still, it doesn't match the intense intricacy of FAREWELL, MY LOVELY nor the lurid seductiveness of THE BIG SLEEP - both among the classics of 20th century literature. It even misses the layering of THE HIGH WINDOW, leaving a fun read without as much depth. Worse, the twists, while they might surprise or confuse readers fed on the whodunit simplicity of Agatha Christie, are, for devoted Chandlerites, more obvious. I guessed the titular lady's secret soon after she was found in the lake, and it was not too difficult to tie in several - although, I admit, not all - later twists.
Still, Chandler is Chandler. His dry, intoxicating prose is here, as is his mastery of characterization.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vivid story telling Aug. 16 2002
Culled from an older short story, the book is one of his best. I enjoyed it more than any other Marlow story.
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By lazza
'The Lady in the Lake' by Raymond Chandler is one of those mystery novels you either love or hate: a murder mystery becomes more and more twisted as a super sleuth, in this case Chandler's Philip Marlowe character, almost magically answers all questions to the amazement of the reader. Regardless, this novel is certainly well-written ... complete with crackling dialogue and interesting characters.
The story is very complicated. Yes, a corpse of a young woman is found in a lake. But there are actually multiple interwoven murders involved, tainted with adultery, drug usage, and greed. Philipe Marlowe is hired not to solve any murder but to actually find the missing wife of a rich businessman. He certainly gets knee-deep into problems and, of course in the end, gets out unscathed.
Bottom line: a tightly written mystery that almost defies belief. Great reading enjoyment.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Read
In my estimation, the weakest of the Marlowe series. But hey, middling Chandler is still a whole lot better than the best of most other writers. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2001 by Thomas F. Ogara
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the mountains and a lady in the lake...
Another noir classic by the master, in this episode detective Philip Marlowe finds crime as deadly in a lakeside resort as it is on the mean streets of the city of angels, and the... Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2001 by thecastlebookroom
5.0 out of 5 stars I like Raymond Chandler
If Earnest Hemmingway wrote detective novels, this would be the result. Straight, to the point, in your face narrative by Phillip Marlowe makes these books hard to put down. Read more
Published on June 11 2001 by harvey dent
4.0 out of 5 stars Once again, Chandler wins my admiration.
Wayward wives seems to be the theme of Raymond Chandler's fourth Philip Marlowe novel, "The Lady in the Lake. Read more
Published on May 7 2001 by A.J.
5.0 out of 5 stars FAB-U-LOUS!
From the first page to the last, The Lady In The Lake is a masterwork of American literature. Some may think that's impossible, seeing as how it'a a *gasp* detective novel! Read more
Published on July 21 2000 by A zealous gun girl
5.0 out of 5 stars The book has x-ray eyes
In this absolute literary classic, Philip Marlowe has been asked to look into the disappearance of the straying wife of a local businessman. Read more
Published on June 10 2000 by frumiousb
5.0 out of 5 stars Even though I like the movie better... Chandler is THE MAN
I have read all the Chandler novels since about 1970, a few of them multiple times, but it had been at least a decade since giving him a full reading. Read more
Published on May 19 1999
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