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PI Philip Marlow meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help him. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe's search for Velma turns up plenty of dangerous gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later. And soon what started as a search for a missing person becomes a matter of life and death....
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and moved to England with his family when he was 12. He attended Dulwich College, Alma Mater to some of the 20th century’s most renowned writers. Returning to America in 1912, he settled in California, worked in a number of jobs, and later married.
It was during the Depression era that he seriously turned his hand to writing and his first published story appeared in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1933, followed six years later by his first novel. The Big Sleep introduced the world to Philip Marlowe, the often imitated but never-bettered hard-boiled private investigator. It is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand – and under the influence of Raymond Chandler's addictive prose that every crime author must write.
"One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards others still try to attain." ( Sunday Times)
"Chandler is an original stylist, creator of a character as immortal as Sherlock Holmes." (Anthony Burgess)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ian C Robertson on 10-21-15
A Fond Farewell
This is a fabulous yarn and one can readily see how it cemented Chandler's place in the Pantheon of of the noir genre, a genre that he was creating, defining and championing as his own with each book that he had published. It is possibly my favourite Chandler, but they're each so good, it's hard to pick from among most of them. I think the reasons I am partial to this one are that, in addition to Marlowe (wiseguy with wisecracks), the femmes are so fatale, the nasties are so dispicable and the writing is so tight, that it is almost a blueprint for the imitators. They try so hard, and mostly fail, to reproduce its dangerous charm and magic.
As for Ray Porter, see my review of "The Big Sleep". He has Marlow down.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By John on 06-29-17
Hard Boiled Humor, Hard-Boiled Empathy
When I open a Raymond Chandler novel, I expect Phillip Marlowe to get hit on the head at least once. I expect there to be a woman involved, a woman who Marlowe, though attracted to her, has nothing to do with beyond the case at hand. And I expect a lot of superbly rendered detail, striking imagery and memorable ways of putting things (like, “he was about as nervous as a brick wall”).
What I don’t expect is to laugh out loud. Here’s Marlowe trying to lure a woman to his place:
“I’d show you my etching.”
“Just one etching?”
“It’s just a single apartment.”
I am now familiar with three of Chandler’s seven novels: The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of audiobook deals, I started with The Long Goodbye, his second to last and written with tremendous difficulty during his wife’s illness and death. It’s a book that reflects the circumstances of its composition, right down to the author character attempting suicide. The Big Sleep, written first, is superbly crafted but I don’t remember guffawing much. Farewell, his second book, had me in stitches.
Not that this isn’t a dark novel on somber themes. Murder, small town corruption and the perpetual inability of “the little guy” to ever make it are not the stuff of comedy:
“…a guy can’t stay honest of he wants to…you gotta play the game dirty or you don’t eat.”
But underneath the hard-boiled cynicism there glints Marlowe’s wit, expressed in his dialogue as well as his narration—and expressed perfectly in Ray Porter’s near-flawless performance.
Another unexpected element in this book is the note of forbearance and even forgiveness. The character who spoke the words quoted above (an out-of-work cop, sidelined by small-town corruption) also urges Marlowe to remember that the people he’s after are human beings, too. Even one of the crooked cops, when alone, urges forbearance to others.
Finally, as with all of Chandler’s work, the plot is secondary to characters, dialogue, and ambience. "[M]y whole career” he wrote, “is based on the idea that the formula doesn't matter, the thing that counts is what you do with the formula; that is to say, it is a matter of style."
So, unlike standard detective stories, there is no finale with all the loose ends neatly tied up. Instead, through the voice of the nice girl Marlowe isn’t interested in, Chandler ridicules such scenes: “You ought to have given a dinner party…gleaming silver and crystal, bright, crisp linen…the servants hovering discreetly with the wrapped bottles of wine, the cops looking a little uncomfortable in their hired evening clothes, as who the hell wouldn’t? The suspects with their brittle smiles and restless hands, and you at the head of the long table, telling all about it, little by little, with your charming light smile and a phony English accent like Philo Vance.” (Chandler hated Hollywood, too.)
I admit I sometimes miss that kind of ending; Chandler’s way is less satisfying. But then I remind myself that his way is far truer to life.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jenesis on 08-27-15
Classic detective series, perfect narrator
Would you consider the audio edition of Farewell My Lovely to be better than the print version?
The Chandler stories are classic detective fiction, the origin of the private eye tropes we all know today. The narrator, Ray Porter, for the Audible recordings is absolutely PERFECT for reading Chandler - wonderful gruff, smoky American accent and can change his voice enough to distinguish the different characters' dialogue.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By S. Brearley on 05-27-16
If you like Chandler, you'll LOVE this performance
Completely brilliant on every count. The all-time classic genre-defining detective novel, and perhaps the best narration I've ever heard of any book ever here on Audible. Ray Porter delivers Chandler's glittering prose with style and panache. The voice and accent for every character is distinct and completely believable: listening was a joy from beginning to end.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful