The Long Goodbye : Philip Marlowe

  • by Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by Ray Porter
  • Series: Philip Marlowe
  • 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Down-and-out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem: his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast. So he turns to his only friend in the world: Philip Marlowe, Private Investigator. He's willing to help a man down on his luck, but later, Lennox commits suicide in Mexico and things start to turn nasty.
Marlowe finds himself drawn into a sordid crowd of adulterers and alcoholics in LA's Idle Valley, where the rich are suffering one big suntanned hangover. Marlowe is sure Lennox didn't kill his wife, but how many more stiffs will turn up before he gets to the truth?
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and moved to England with his family when he was twelve. He attended Dulwich College, Alma Mater to some of the twentieth 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.

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What the Critics Say

"Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence." (Daily Telegraph)
"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Both the burn and the bush

Labels like genius and masterpiece get thrown around a lot in the arts. Certain writers are deemed to be brilliant and yet their stars fade quickly. Their notable books are soon forgotten, misplaced, unread and eventually pulped. Other writers seem to have the opposite trajectory. They are viewed as pulp or genre writers, but over time they seem to transcend the genre and even seem to dance on the graves of labels. They are iconic. Raymond Chandler is one of those later writers.

He is one of the Holy Trinity of detective novelists (along with Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain). These are the men who built the hard-boiled noir house that everyone else lives in. He is a god and a poet. His dialogue seems to have just fallen directly from the swollen lips of a trash-talking demiurge. His novels are both the burn and the bush. His prose is both the wilderness and the mountain. He can kill-off the Alpha and seduce the Omega before you recognize your own face in the cracked mirror.

I can't think of a modern writer of detective or crime fiction that shouldn't be paying Chander's heirs some form of rent. I can't imagine a writer who wants to include a gun and a woman and a detective in a novel NOT consulting Chandler's novels for hints of inspiration. Obviously, I adore the genre and the writer, but even if I work hard to remove my own biases it is difficult to walk away from 'The Long Goodbye' without recognizing what a gift was thrown at our underserving, flat feet.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Porter brings a subtle drama to The Long Goodbye

Would you listen to The Long Goodbye again? Why?

I will absolutely listen to this again. First it is Chandler's most complex and involved plot offering the reader/listener much to consider. Chandler's thoughts on law enforcement and the part wealth and power play as to what gets investigated are clearer today than they were when he wrote this. Secondly, Porter's subtle depictions of the various characters offer an element of realism to this performance I don't often encounter. This was a hard story to stop listening to. It's Chandler's longest book and I listened to the entire thing in 2 days.


Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The Long Goodbye appears to be two plots which initially seem to be unconnected. Only as Marlowe begins to think things through do the connections appear. The characters are vivid. Only Candy is a flat character and that is "flat" in a good way, like Odd Job or Uriah Heap. The rest of the cast are very complex, well constructed people who behave in unexpected ways that are consistent with the problems they face. Bernie Ohls is the analyst of the tale. When he shows up you know you are in for an explanation of what Chandler really means by this story. Roger Wade talks and thinks like a writer. I suspect a lot of his problems were those that Chandler himself faced in writing this book.


What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

Frequently several characters appear in a conversation in this book. Porter makes a clear distinction between every character and he does it so subtly it's as though different people are speaking. His performance could not be better.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Chandler's use of language is something his contemporaries try to imitate and in this respect he's in top form in The Long Goodbye. Lawyer Endicott and Detective Ohls offer several comments on the philosophy of law and how law enforcement works that have stayed with me. Marlowe's own assessment of the various types of blond is very funny and cynical.


Any additional comments?

Marlowe's reluctance to take either sex or money from anyone leaves one wondering, as several characters ask, what does he live on? In many respects Marlowe is TOO noble. In this book he is several times in grave danger on the behalf of his clients and yet he refuses payment and in one final gesture he returns payment every dollar of which he earned and more. Is being a private detective just a hobby for this guy? Marlowe's altruism is the one false note in this otherwise thinking person's mystery.

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- Patrick King

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios