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The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback…

de Raymond Chandler

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1803125,310 (4.37)Cap
Creator of the famous Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler elevated the American hard-boiled detective genre to an art form. His last four novels, published here in one volume, offer ample opportunity to savour the unique and compelling fictional world that made his works modern classics. The Lady in the Lake moves Marlowe out of his usual habitat of city streets and into the mountains outside Los Angeles in his strange search for a missing woman. The Little Sister takes Marlowe to Hollywood, where he tries to find a sweet young thingâe(tm)s missing brother, uncovering on the way a little blackmail, a lot of drugs, and more than enough murder. In The Long Goodbye, a case involving a war-scarred drunk and his nymphomaniac wife has Marlowe constantly on the move: a psychotic gangsterâe(tm)s on his trail, heâe(tm)s in trouble with the cops, and more and more corpses keep turning up. Playback features a well-endowed redhead who leads Marlowe to the California coast to solve a tale of big money and, of course, murder. Throughout these masterpieces, Marloweâe(tm)s wry humour and existential sense of his job prove yet again why he has become one of the most recognized and imitated characters in fiction.… (més)
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Es mostren totes 3
Very readable

The last few years, I've gotten hooked on Perry Mason reruns on TV, despite their often mediocre plots and their apparently mandatory goofy closing scenes. I guess it is the show's "atmosphere" that I like. I was hoping to find something to read that had that same sort of feeling and that was well-written, and I decided to give Raymond Chandler's novels a try. He wrote about crime in early modern L.A., and critics seemed to revere his writing style, so I thought these were good candidates. Also, I was hoping that they were written long enough ago that things were kept on a PG level, something that practically no fiction written nowadays can seem to manage.

I started reading his novels chronologically 3 months ago (in the other Everyman's volume), and I finished the last one (in this volume) last night. These books are definitely page-turners, and it was hard to let a completed novel sink in for a day or two before beginning the next one. Would I recommend them to others? Well, not unreservedly, but I don't feel that the time I spent reading them was wasted.

I'm an Austen/Dickens fan, and (if a cross-genre comparison isn't simply absurd) I can't put the quality of Chandler's writing in their class, but he does have an interesting spare style. There are times that the wise-cracking dialogue does come close to self-parody: In _The Big Sleep_ when Marlowe says that someone was talking like he walked out of a gangster movie, I couldn't see much difference between the way that character talked and the way everyone else in the book did.

For the most part, my hope for some PG reads was satisfied, although there is a clear drift towards more explicitness as one moves from the early books to the late ones. (That's at least part of why I liked the early ones more.)

If Chandler's characters didn't smoke or drink, his books would be about 25% shorter. Are there any children anywhere in the Southland that Marlowe describes? Not that I can remember. The absence of basic human affection was pretty hard for a Dickens fan to take. Marlowe seems to see women as objects to make passes at, to make out with (in the early novels), to bed (in the later ones), and, oh yes, to tolerate as clients. And on the last page of _Playback_ when Chandler does make an attempt to move Marlowe into a lasting relationship, it just rings false.

On Perry Mason, you can get a pretty good idea who's going to get murdered before the murder occurs, because it has to be a somewhat unlikeable character. On a lot of other mystery shows, murder is rarely treated as tragic, more as a fun opportunity to solve a good puzzle. At least in Chandler's novels, even though the victims are often unsavory characters, you get a sense that murder is serious--that, as Eastwood said, when you kill a man you "take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have". ( )
  cpg | Oct 14, 2017 |
Chandler writes with a wit that no one else will ever surpass. The long goodbye is my favourite here, though they are all entertaining. ( )
  MissBHaven | Apr 4, 2010 |
Raymond Chandler is a favorite author; certainly one of the foremost prose stylists of the English language. ( )
  IreneF | Sep 16, 2008 |
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Creator of the famous Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler elevated the American hard-boiled detective genre to an art form. His last four novels, published here in one volume, offer ample opportunity to savour the unique and compelling fictional world that made his works modern classics. The Lady in the Lake moves Marlowe out of his usual habitat of city streets and into the mountains outside Los Angeles in his strange search for a missing woman. The Little Sister takes Marlowe to Hollywood, where he tries to find a sweet young thingâe(tm)s missing brother, uncovering on the way a little blackmail, a lot of drugs, and more than enough murder. In The Long Goodbye, a case involving a war-scarred drunk and his nymphomaniac wife has Marlowe constantly on the move: a psychotic gangsterâe(tm)s on his trail, heâe(tm)s in trouble with the cops, and more and more corpses keep turning up. Playback features a well-endowed redhead who leads Marlowe to the California coast to solve a tale of big money and, of course, murder. Throughout these masterpieces, Marloweâe(tm)s wry humour and existential sense of his job prove yet again why he has become one of the most recognized and imitated characters in fiction.

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