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Chandler: Stories & Early Novels Hardcover – Oct 1 1995
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If you're looking for the perfect gift for yourself or some other lover of mysteries, this beautifully-made volume from the Library of America series will definitely prove that you care enough to send the very best. And if you haven't picked up The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, or The High Window recently, you'll be amazed at how well they stand up to the test of time. (A second handsome volume, Later Novels & Other Writings -- including The Long Goodbye -- is also available.)
From Library Journal
These additions to the venerable series make official what mystery fans have always known: Raymond Chandler is one of the gods of American literature. Following the trail blazed by Dashiell Hammett, Chandler created Philip Marlowe and set the standard against which all private detective fiction is measured. This two-volume set covers the full canon of Chandler's work from early pulp stories to all the Marlowe novels, the screenplay for Double Indemnity, and essays on the mystery genre plus the usual Library of America goodies such as notes on the text and a chronology of the author's life. In terms of literary inventions, the Wild West cowboy and the hard-boiled P.I. are this country's only true native sons and are deserving of respect. One of them at least now has it.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
But what really makes Chandler's stories hold up so well is the language: "The Dancers is the kind of club that will dissolution you about what a lot of extra golf money can do for the personality" or "What does it matter, if you're breathing wind and air or oil and water--when you're sleeping the big sleep."
While the plots are wonderful period pieces of a young Los Angeles, the characters are richly drawn. Ever wonder where all those tv detectives came from? Right here.
Chandler's short stories are also supurb. My vote for the single best detective short story of all time is Red Wind--there is so much that happens in such a short story. No one should ever die without reading it....."Trouble is my Business" is also excellent....
Is this a complete collection of his short stories? No--There are a few I would have added, even though several of them were "canibalized" (Chandler's phrase) into later novels. The plot of "Bay City Blues" was built into "Lady in the Lake," but I think that story still holds up on its own. An earlier review also mentioned that "The Pencil" is missing. I can't understand why it was left out. "Killer in the Rain" also became "The Big Sleep," but it still has charm. "No Crime in the Mountains" is not included, but that's not much of a loss.
Not all of the stories in this book work--but that's going to be true with any collection.Read more ›
Though he appears, on the surface, to be little more than a nosy, bumbling "private dick," his successful unraveling of a closely interwoven crowd of crooks proves, as one suspect cop observes, that Marlowe "played...smart....You must got something we wasn't told about." (228) Keeping his cards in his hand for most of the noel, Chandler shows that both he and Marlowe are "smart," leading the reader on a circuitous trail that shakes out only in the novel's final pages.
The story begins with a happenstance encounter between Marlowe and an ex-con called "Moose" Malloy. Marlowe cannot resist pursuing the suspicious-looking hulk of a man and soon finds himself both running after and from a variety of shady characters. In the course of his private investigations, Marlowe survives several near brushes with death, getting "sapped" by thugs near the novel's start, pumped full of opium in a suspicious hospital-like place, and stealthily boarding a closely guarded gambling boat to confront an infamous mobster in the middle of the night. In the end, Marlowe succeeds at untangling the web of murders and crimes that keep him running throughout the novel, but not before giving the reader the run-around as well. Chandler's smart, articulate prose lends itself well to the captivating story and intriguing characters that combine to make this a must-read for fans of detective fiction.
This particular collection, rightly, combines Chandler's first three novels with the best of his earlier short stories, recognizing the thematic unity in those works. (Good as it is, "The Lady In The Lake" demands to be treated separately from Chandler's earlier efforts.)
Chances are, if you're reading this, you've read most, if not all, of Chandler's Phillip Marlowe novels. You may as well have read many, if not all, of the short stories presented here. But have you read these novels, and these short stories, TOGETHER in this context? Likely not. But you deserve to.
In the short stories, for example, there are protagonists named John Evans, Ted Carmody and Tony Resick (the last two of which, interestingly, inhabit locations which were most likely Los Angeles' Hotel Mayfair, with which Chandler had more than a nodding familiarity). And when, in Chandler's writings, did they meld themselves into what would be his penultimate creation, Phillip Marlowe?
And at which point did Chandler begin to write, as fellow writer Ross McDonald termed it, "like a slumming angel . . ."? The answers to both questions may well lie here, in this collection.
Pick up this collection! Read it! Discover the material anew!
Most recent customer reviews
Chandler is perhaps the greatest writer of detective fiction and a great author period. To ignore these books is to ignore much of what is great about American literature. Read morePublished on July 19 2002
Earlier anthologies of Raymond Chandler's works mostly center upon what have come to be known as his 'big four' or earliest novels -- The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, The High... Read morePublished on Dec 1 2001 by Paul Dana
Chandler was a brilliant author and Marlowe is a timeless character. It was for these reasons that I bought this collection. However, it is incomplete and misleading. Read morePublished on March 29 2001 by Kristopher Haines
This two volume set on the entire canon of Raymond Chandlers work is beautifully put together and very enjoyable to read. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 1998
The addition of this title and its companion volume, "Later Novels & Other Writings," to the venerable Library of America series makes official what mystery fans have... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 1997
For you hard-boiled detective fans who are also intogeneology, you might like to trace Philip Marlowe's familytree. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 1996