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Collected Stories (Everyman's Library Classics) [Hardcover]

Raymond Chandler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Frequently Bought Together

Collected Stories (Everyman's Library Classics) + The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely and The High Window (Everyman's Library Classics) + The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback (Everyman's Library classics)
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Everyman (27 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857152573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857152579
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

One of greatest crime writers who set standards that other writers still try to attain,

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Do you see Chandler as great literature, or just as an enjoyable read? Personally, I don't find the two mutually exclusive, but this weighty tome from Everyman with an introduction by Oxford emeritus Professor John Bayley (and husband to Iris Murdoch) does everything it possibly can to put it in the literature camp, rather than the fun to read.

I read all of the Philip Marlowe novels at least to some extent in the bath. The Penguin reprints are just right for that. This is something you can't do with the Collected Stories. Hardcover, with more than 1300 pages of beautifully printed fine paper, you wouldn't want to hold this up for long, and you wouldn't dare to get it wet. More to the point, Bayley's introduction takes Chandler as seriously as it is possible to take him, and is supported by an academic bibliography and a 12 page chronology. Mercifully, there is no index.

The other thing that marks this out as 'serious' rather than 'fun' is that, in the original stories, the character who becomes Marlowe either has no name, or has a different name. In subsequent republications (authorised by Chandler), they all become Marlowe. This book sticks to the original published version, so that the first one that is about Marlowe is Trouble is my business, 1,000 pages in.

There's no doubt in my mind that Chandler created great literature, and he did this in the awareness not only of Holmes and Spade, but also of TS Eliot and other literary figures. But my feeling is that this Everyman collection just takes a little bit too much of the fun out of it.

Nonetheless, Bayley's introduction is very insightful, and there is no other convenient way of acquiring all of the short stories.

Definitely one for the completists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardboiled crime fiction at its best 9 May 2012
By simon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have never read a single story by Raymond Chandler then what have you been doing with your life, these are simply the best crime fiction stories ever written. They were orginally written for Pulp Fiction magazines such as "The Black Mask" during the 1930's and follow Chandlers advice to crime writers perfectly I.E. "if in doubt have a man enter the room with a machine gun".

This hard back edition is the first time that all of the short stories have been presented in a single volume and include such favourites as Red Wind, Goldfish, Blackmailers don't shoot, The king in yellow and Pearls are a nusiance. If there is one fault with this book it is that at over 1300 pages it is a little heavy to carry around with you when out and about.Once you have finished this volume I would advise all of his novels contained in the following volumes by the same publiserThe Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback (Everyman's Library classics)The Big Sleep (Everyman's Library classics)
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By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Apart from a single short story in a Black Mask collection, this was my first exposure to Chandler. With hindsight, that’s probably not the ideal way to do it - getting a single 1300 page volume with all 25 short stories Chandler wrote, largely in the pulps in the 1930's. Actually, he wasn't too prolific for a writer over 20-odd years: only this and 7 novels comprise the whole of his written fiction work, and of the novels, all of them we rehashed and combined versions of the short stories found here (except for Playback and The Long Goodbye).

Of all these works, about 20 are much the same, involving a private dick (be it Marlowe, Carmady, Dalmas or someone else - although always cleaned up into Marlowe in the book versions, and some later collections) and some combination of a dead body, a live girl and something valuable, usually a string of pearls. Sometimes the live girl becomes the dead body. There is also a bit of being beaten up and knocked out. In short, its classic noir fiction. Its doesn't even suffer too much from being read one after the other, which is pretty high praise. Its also a fantastic view of 1930's LA and environs, from Hollywood and Santa Monica to Big Bear Lake up in the mountains.

There are also a few other stories, some almost weird tales, one set in rural England, and one LA story told not as a PI, but as a rich idiot who is overly fond of booze. Its strangely memorable, perhaps just because its that bit different, but it shows Chandler could write more than just what he usually did, over and over again.

So why isn't this the best place to start reading Chandler?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the book itself is incredibly cheap for 1300 pages. it is a no brainer. why waste money buying lots of other collections, and then having to buy this anyway to get all the stories.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
112 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal. 30 Nov 2002
By Andrew R. Oerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was dubious. Not of the quality of Chandler's writings, but of the veracity of this book's claim to collect ALL of his short fiction. But it does. From Blackmailers Don't Shoot to The Pencil, with everything in between, this has them all. This also includes three that are available nowhere else: Professor Bingo's Snuff, The Bronze Door and English Summer. These last three really do not really qualify as pulpy mysteries (or even as typical Chandler, although his imprint in them is still distinct), but I had been seeking them for a while and bought the book for them alone anyway. And because, well, Chandler could write a grocery list and I'd buy it to read. He's that good.
For those who already know Chandler, that will not come as any surprise. He took up the torch which Hammett lit, toward making detective fiction respectable literature. And no one outside of Hemingway has been more influential or distinctive, in any style, anywhere, ever. And no one has ever been more entertaining. Chandler wrote in an extremely visceral, visual, atmospheric way, and made the language sit up, salute and perform pirouettes. His cynical California Gothic prose defined postwar America and combined intelligentsia with slang and squalor with romanticism into a new form that has not been exceeded. I could ramble on indefinitely, but I hope this paragraph has been some small yet clear indication of the fact that I happen to like Raymond Chandler's writing.
The three previously unpublished stories were treats, to see Chandler working in ways I was unaccustomed to. One was even subtitled 'A Gothic Romance'; that made me a little nervous, but is only a romance in the sense that The Big Sleep is a romance. All three deal with murder- one at a quaint but decaying English manor, one via a magical door to nowhere, and one by an invisible man. You read that last part correctly. Chandler delves into fantasy in these pages; and I was delighted. But for those of you passionately inclined to LA noir, don't worry: as unconventional as these stories are, they still retain most of the basic elements found in his other crime stories.
In Chandler's first Black Mask story, Blackmailers Don't Shoot, his style was present, but it was somewhat forced and imitative; he wore the attitude like a coat, keeping it a separate and distant thing. By just a couple of stories later, the attitude had become a second skin. Chandler had cemented his voice and begun to truly inhabit the world of his creations. Thereby we too are liberated, and transported, into his rich, dark, slinky and dangerous territory. By the late 30's everything was in place: atmosphere, language, attitude, et al. Raymond Chandler was combining (cannibalizing, he called it) two of the stories in this volume with new material to become his first and most famous novel, The Big Sleep. And we can all be thankful for that.
But it begins here. Some of these stories don't use the ingenious metaphors he later became renowned for, some are overly confusing, some aren't even great mysteries. (Chandler himself would tell you he was not the best plotter, giving that acclaim to Woolrich, but plots were secondary to Chandler anyway.) Still, these are all great stories, of the coolest era in history and of the last great rugged individualist. In some stories he is called Dalmas. In some Carmady. In some he is no one in particular. And yet they are all his lasting creation Marlowe under the surface, all *Chandler* himself in fact, using the crime story form to express his own philosophies of life. While never failing to blow your socks off with his skill.
For those who don't know Chandler this may not be the place to start. For that I recommend Farewell, My Lovely or The Little Sister, both among Chandler's most atmospheric and funny novels. But I do recommend starting down these mean streets which Marlowe himself prowled. You will (or should) become hooked, and may eventually wind up back at this collection anyway, where you can see the writer- and his characters- develop, and see grains of the novels his stories would become.
If you have never read Chandler before, you have a vast world newly open to you. Lucky you.
If you have read him before, welcome back. Curl up and stay awhile.
P.S. The introduction to this volume breaks no new ground. Don't get me wrong, it's OK. But this is An Historic Publishing Event, so I was expecting something a little more official and substantive. A small gripe.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great look at the development of an unforgettable character 11 Jun 2006
By James Atkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yes, there are a lot of great stories in this book, but for me the real interest is seeing Chandler develop the traits and try out the plotlines that will be fully fleshed out with the definitive Philip Marlowe. I was introduced to Chandler by a good friend (thanks, Darlene) about 25 years ago, and I still read his novels at least once a year. I would read The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely first to get a sense of who Marlowe is and then backtrack into these stories to find out where Marlowe comes from. Marlowe has been my favorite literary character for a very long time. Down these mean pages, a man must go. An excellent collection and an excellent value.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is About Time! 16 Nov 2003
By Kristopher Haines - Published on Amazon.com
This is the one to buy, it has virtually everything. It almost makes me mad that it is finally here because of all I had to go through to find the missing pieces not offered in the scandalously misleading Library of America collection. "Raymond Chandler Speaking" has the one missing story and it is easily obtainable, although otherwise useless. Buy the entire set from the new Everyman's Library, it is comparable in price to the LOA set and this set delivers what it promises.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will mess with your mind 23 Mar 2010
By Christopher Grant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Right off the bat, let me make clear that this is a beautifully bound and printed collection, that it's a bargain at Amazon's discounted price, and that these stories do exhibit Chandler's famously skillful writing style. In a couple of the stories in this collection, Chandler seems to be trying to write a Twilight Zone script, and in another he seems to be imitating P.G. Wodehouse, but in all of the rest he's true to form.

There is an important sense, however, in which this collection will be a mixed blessing to you if you've read and appreciated Chandler's novels. In a remarkable number of instances, the stories mix-and-match the plot lines from the novels. To be chronologically-correct, I should say that it's the other way around, I guess. In any case, it is disorienting to read Episodes X, Y, and Z from Novels A, B, and C all occurring in the same story. It's like having Nicholas Nickleby and David Copperfield team up to get Oliver Twist out of a jam. If you like to remember the things you read, you should be aware that the stories are likely to confuse your memories of the novels.

What's remarkable about Chandler is how even the same episode transplanted into a different story comes across interesting and fresh the second time around.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Chandler Enthusiast 18 April 2011
By BJ Fraser - Published on Amazon.com
It's always problematic in reviewing a book of short stories because it would take a long time to describe each story. That's especially true of this book, which collects all of Raymond Chandler's short stories and comes out to a whopping 1,300 pages. So I'm just going to deal with general issues and some highlights.

From the bibliography most of these stories were published between 1933 and 1939, when Chandler began turning these short stories into novels. The last three or so were published near or after his death in 1959.

As you'd expect, most of these are detective stories. They feature a variety of lead characters, who are generally all the same. There's the familiar Philip Marlowe from Chandler's novels, but also Nick Carmady, John Dalmas, John Evans, and others. By and large they are all private investigators, a bit world-weary and cynical, a bit down on their luck, but who maintain their own moral code. They want to finish the jobs they start and do it right, though they have no compunction about hiding evidence from the law if they feel it necessary. There are a couple of notable exceptions to this: "Pearls Are a Nuisance" features a learned playboy as the investigator and "The Bronze Door" features an old henpecked British man. The latter is actually more of a supernatural horror story than a detective story, one that could have made for a good "Twilight Zone" episode years later. "Professor Bingo's Snuff" is another in the supernatural vein, involving snuff that turns the user invisible. And "English Summer: A Gothic Romance" sounds very un-Chandler-like, but does get the mandatory murder in there.

Generally, like Chandler's novels, the stories feature the private investigator getting wrapped up into a case combining some (or all) of four crimes: missing persons, murder, blackmail, and theft--the thefts usually involving jewels. There's usually a girl involved. Sometimes she's bad, sometimes she's good, or sometimes she's good and turns out to be bad.

As with most short story collections I've read (including my own!) there can at times be some drag involved from too many stories that seem the same. None of the stories are really bad, but at times they feel a little too similar to each other. If you've read Chandler's novels then some of these might seem really familiar because he apparently used these stories as fodder for his novels.

My favorite of the collection is "Red Wind." This is a Marlowe story taking place on a hot night. It involves murder, blackmail, and a jewelry heist. The introduction talks about how in later novels Chandler began winding down Marlowe's career (and his own) by having Marlowe get softer with the dames, going so far as to hook him up with one. You can see the seeds for this planted in "Red Wind," where Marlowe definitely has a crush on the girl involved, though things don't work out.

What's interesting is to read the Marlowe stories from the '30s and compare them to the last one "The Pencil" from 1959. There's a huge difference in Marlowe's personality and narration. The character becomes more personable, or jauntier, probably because by then Chandler was so intimately familiar with Marlowe from the novels.

Anyway, I think if you really like Chandler's novels and want to see a bit of how they came about, then read this. But at 1,300 pages I don't think it's for the casual reader. A casual reader should try the novels first. Might as well since they're much the same, right? So I'd recommend this for only the real Chandler enthusiasts.

That is all.
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