Category: Raymond Chandler

book of books – The Big Sleep


A picture of a gun toting Humphrey Bogart adorns the front cover and in the background is a glamorous blond. But although sex is offered the women are nothing but trouble for Raymond Chandler’s lead character Philip Marlowe. He manages to survive only just by shaking off their advances, although it almost costs him his life.

Although reading Chandler might feel like a guilty pleasure this is well worth it because the sense of enjoyment is there throughout the book. There is a pace that drags you in and makes you feel as if you are sitting on Marlowe’s shoulder and that is a pleasure worth feeling plenty of guilt about.

Plot summary
Hired to solve a black mail case Marlowe cannot keep away from the bigger mystery of what happened to the son-in-law of his client, a wealthy general with two wild daughters. He manages to solve the blackmail case and on the way get embroiled in a couple of murders with the blackmailer, an erotic bookseller named Geiger, as well as those trying to make advantage out of his demise, Brody another blackmailer, getting bullets lodged in their guts. With the apparent blackmail case solved Marlowe turns back to the question of what happened to bootlegger Rusty Regan, who was meant to have run off with the wife of nightclub owner Eddie Mars. But Marlowe gets tipped off about the whereabouts of Mrs Mars and although he almost gets killed and has to kill a man to escape there is no sign of Regan. He then works out that the younger of the general’s daughters killed him in a frenzy and after she tries to do it to him he informs the older sister that he has worked it out and tells them to leave town. Meanwhile he has also worked out that Mars worked out what had happened and was waiting to blackmail the daughters once they came into their father’s fortune.

Is it well written?
This is almost like two books with the Geiger case dominating the first and then the search for Regan the second. The result of that slight gear change is that you have to drop and then rebuild the pace. Maybe it is because my recent Chandler reading has been short stories but that drop and then rebuilding of pace is something slightly difficult to get used to. There is also more of a personality on show here with Marlowe displaying the traits of the lonely and damaged and when he is almost seduced by Carmen, the younger daughter, his reaction is slightly more than is required. That sort of depth is often lacking in the short stories but Chandler doesn’t really take it anywhere so you are left with a flawed hero without much explanation why. Overall though the one-liners, sharp eye for detail and a twisting and turning plot make this an enjoyable read.

Should it be read?
If you like Chandler then it is not a question of if but when you will get round to reading this book. Because of its Hollywood connections this might be a recognisable title and therefore get chosen ahead of some of the other books. That would not be a bad thing because it lays out Philip Marlowe and the world he inhabits as well as anything else I have so far read. In terms of the demands it makes on a reader there are not too many and it is just a question of finding the time to read this book rather than having to sit there with a dictionary or other reference works.
Summary
Blackmail and lies cost lives and make a lethal mix when a dose of youthful madness is added to the mix

Version read – Penguin paperback

book of books – The Big Sleep


A picture of a gun toting Humphrey Bogart adorns the front cover and in the background is a glamorous blond. But although sex is offered the women are nothing but trouble for Raymond Chandler’s lead character Philip Marlowe. He manages to survive only just by shaking off their advances, although it almost costs him his life.

Although reading Chandler might feel like a guilty pleasure this is well worth it because the sense of enjoyment is there throughout the book. There is a pace that drags you in and makes you feel as if you are sitting on Marlowe’s shoulder and that is a pleasure worth feeling plenty of guilt about.

Plot summary
Hired to solve a black mail case Marlowe cannot keep away from the bigger mystery of what happened to the son-in-law of his client, a wealthy general with two wild daughters. He manages to solve the blackmail case and on the way get embroiled in a couple of murders with the blackmailer, an erotic bookseller named Geiger, as well as those trying to make advantage out of his demise, Brody another blackmailer, getting bullets lodged in their guts. With the apparent blackmail case solved Marlowe turns back to the question of what happened to bootlegger Rusty Regan, who was meant to have run off with the wife of nightclub owner Eddie Mars. But Marlowe gets tipped off about the whereabouts of Mrs Mars and although he almost gets killed and has to kill a man to escape there is no sign of Regan. He then works out that the younger of the general’s daughters killed him in a frenzy and after she tries to do it to him he informs the older sister that he has worked it out and tells them to leave town. Meanwhile he has also worked out that Mars worked out what had happened and was waiting to blackmail the daughters once they came into their father’s fortune.

Is it well written?
This is almost like two books with the Geiger case dominating the first and then the search for Regan the second. The result of that slight gear change is that you have to drop and then rebuild the pace. Maybe it is because my recent Chandler reading has been short stories but that drop and then rebuilding of pace is something slightly difficult to get used to. There is also more of a personality on show here with Marlowe displaying the traits of the lonely and damaged and when he is almost seduced by Carmen, the younger daughter, his reaction is slightly more than is required. That sort of depth is often lacking in the short stories but Chandler doesn’t really take it anywhere so you are left with a flawed hero without much explanation why. Overall though the one-liners, sharp eye for detail and a twisting and turning plot make this an enjoyable read.

Should it be read?
If you like Chandler then it is not a question of if but when you will get round to reading this book. Because of its Hollywood connections this might be a recognisable title and therefore get chosen ahead of some of the other books. That would not be a bad thing because it lays out Philip Marlowe and the world he inhabits as well as anything else I have so far read. In terms of the demands it makes on a reader there are not too many and it is just a question of finding the time to read this book rather than having to sit there with a dictionary or other reference works.
Summary
Blackmail and lies cost lives and make a lethal mix when a dose of youthful madness is added to the mix

Version read – Penguin paperback

book of books – The Big Sleep


A picture of a gun toting Humphrey Bogart adorns the front cover and in the background is a glamorous blond. But although sex is offered the women are nothing but trouble for Raymond Chandler’s lead character Philip Marlowe. He manages to survive only just by shaking off their advances, although it almost costs him his life.

Although reading Chandler might feel like a guilty pleasure this is well worth it because the sense of enjoyment is there throughout the book. There is a pace that drags you in and makes you feel as if you are sitting on Marlowe’s shoulder and that is a pleasure worth feeling plenty of guilt about.

Plot summary
Hired to solve a black mail case Marlowe cannot keep away from the bigger mystery of what happened to the son-in-law of his client, a wealthy general with two wild daughters. He manages to solve the blackmail case and on the way get embroiled in a couple of murders with the blackmailer, an erotic bookseller named Geiger, as well as those trying to make advantage out of his demise, Brody another blackmailer, getting bullets lodged in their guts. With the apparent blackmail case solved Marlowe turns back to the question of what happened to bootlegger Rusty Regan, who was meant to have run off with the wife of nightclub owner Eddie Mars. But Marlowe gets tipped off about the whereabouts of Mrs Mars and although he almost gets killed and has to kill a man to escape there is no sign of Regan. He then works out that the younger of the general’s daughters killed him in a frenzy and after she tries to do it to him he informs the older sister that he has worked it out and tells them to leave town. Meanwhile he has also worked out that Mars worked out what had happened and was waiting to blackmail the daughters once they came into their father’s fortune.

Is it well written?
This is almost like two books with the Geiger case dominating the first and then the search for Regan the second. The result of that slight gear change is that you have to drop and then rebuild the pace. Maybe it is because my recent Chandler reading has been short stories but that drop and then rebuilding of pace is something slightly difficult to get used to. There is also more of a personality on show here with Marlowe displaying the traits of the lonely and damaged and when he is almost seduced by Carmen, the younger daughter, his reaction is slightly more than is required. That sort of depth is often lacking in the short stories but Chandler doesn’t really take it anywhere so you are left with a flawed hero without much explanation why. Overall though the one-liners, sharp eye for detail and a twisting and turning plot make this an enjoyable read.

Should it be read?
If you like Chandler then it is not a question of if but when you will get round to reading this book. Because of its Hollywood connections this might be a recognisable title and therefore get chosen ahead of some of the other books. That would not be a bad thing because it lays out Philip Marlowe and the world he inhabits as well as anything else I have so far read. In terms of the demands it makes on a reader there are not too many and it is just a question of finding the time to read this book rather than having to sit there with a dictionary or other reference works.
Summary
Blackmail and lies cost lives and make a lethal mix when a dose of youthful madness is added to the mix

Version read – Penguin paperback

Lunchtime read part II: The Big Sleep

“What did it matter where you lay once you wee dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.”

The book ends with Marlowe in devastating form ripping apart any attempts to stop him spelling out the truth. You wait for this moment for 215 pages and when it comes it is well worth waiting for.

Highlights from chapters XXXI and XXXII

* Marlowe stops after getting his commission from the general to find Rusty and talks to Carmen the younger crazier daughter and she asks him to teach her to shoot after he hands her back her gun he picked up when she fired at Brody

* She directs him out to a remote abandoned farm and oil works and Marlowe wanders off 30 years to set up the target but as he gets within 10 feet of her she starts shooting at him and falls into an unconscious fit after he manages to grab her

* He takes her home and then confronts her sister Vivian and tells her what he thinks has been happening – that Carmen shot Regan and she had to pay Eddie Mars $15,000 to hush it up but in turn Mars was going to blackmail her out of her fortune – and then tells her that he filled the gun with blanks and that’s why he has come back unlike Regan

* She admits it and Marlowe demands that she takes her sister away to get cured from her condition but threatens to spill the beans if she has not left town in three days and then despite the likely trouble he decides to head out and tell Eddie Mars its all off

A full review probably on Sunday…

Lunchtime read part II: The Big Sleep

“What did it matter where you lay once you wee dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.”

The book ends with Marlowe in devastating form ripping apart any attempts to stop him spelling out the truth. You wait for this moment for 215 pages and when it comes it is well worth waiting for.

Highlights from chapters XXXI and XXXII

* Marlowe stops after getting his commission from the general to find Rusty and talks to Carmen the younger crazier daughter and she asks him to teach her to shoot after he hands her back her gun he picked up when she fired at Brody

* She directs him out to a remote abandoned farm and oil works and Marlowe wanders off 30 years to set up the target but as he gets within 10 feet of her she starts shooting at him and falls into an unconscious fit after he manages to grab her

* He takes her home and then confronts her sister Vivian and tells her what he thinks has been happening – that Carmen shot Regan and she had to pay Eddie Mars $15,000 to hush it up but in turn Mars was going to blackmail her out of her fortune – and then tells her that he filled the gun with blanks and that’s why he has come back unlike Regan

* She admits it and Marlowe demands that she takes her sister away to get cured from her condition but threatens to spill the beans if she has not left town in three days and then despite the likely trouble he decides to head out and tell Eddie Mars its all off

A full review probably on Sunday…

Lunchtime read: The Big Sleep

The book reaches its conclusion and in a way The Big Sleep has been two books with the blackmailing Geiger story the first part and then the hunt for Rusty Regan the second. The Regan story is darker than the first and is personally more dangerous for Marlowe and takes you into contact with contract killers, bent policemen and the seedier side of what money can do as a corruptible force.

Highlights between chapters XXVI to XXX

* Marlowe decides to follow up on the lead to Agnes who knows where Eddie Mars’s wife is hiding out but he is too late and the man he arranged to meet has been poisoned with cyanide

* Marlowe takes a call in his office and Agnes arranges to meet and she tells him the details and Marlowe heads off to find her and after getting two punctures meets the poisioner hanging out in a garage

* Before he knows it Marlowe has been knocked out and tied up but the mistake they make is to leave him with Eddie Mars’s wife who lets Marlowe escape but all he does is wait outside and then put four bullets into the man who kept him prisoner

* He goes to the police but doesn’t get thanked for it and then he has an appointment with the general who asks him why he chose to try to go after Regan when he had not been instructed to

* Marlowe explains that he had a hunch that’s what the general wanted and when he explains he is now backing off the old man offers him $1,000 to track Regan down and sends him on his way

Might try to squeeze the final bit in tonight or tomorrow…

Lunchtime read: The Big Sleep

The book reaches its conclusion and in a way The Big Sleep has been two books with the blackmailing Geiger story the first part and then the hunt for Rusty Regan the second. The Regan story is darker than the first and is personally more dangerous for Marlowe and takes you into contact with contract killers, bent policemen and the seedier side of what money can do as a corruptible force.

Highlights between chapters XXVI to XXX

* Marlowe decides to follow up on the lead to Agnes who knows where Eddie Mars’s wife is hiding out but he is too late and the man he arranged to meet has been poisoned with cyanide

* Marlowe takes a call in his office and Agnes arranges to meet and she tells him the details and Marlowe heads off to find her and after getting two punctures meets the poisioner hanging out in a garage

* Before he knows it Marlowe has been knocked out and tied up but the mistake they make is to leave him with Eddie Mars’s wife who lets Marlowe escape but all he does is wait outside and then put four bullets into the man who kept him prisoner

* He goes to the police but doesn’t get thanked for it and then he has an appointment with the general who asks him why he chose to try to go after Regan when he had not been instructed to

* Marlowe explains that he had a hunch that’s what the general wanted and when he explains he is now backing off the old man offers him $1,000 to track Regan down and sends him on his way

Might try to squeeze the final bit in tonight or tomorrow…