- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (7 July 2005)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 0140108947
- ISBN-13: 978-0140108941
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.8 x 18.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 698,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Lady in the Lake (A Philip Marlowe Novel) Paperback – 7 Jul 2005
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About the Author
Best-known as the creator of the original private eye, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and died in 1959. Many of his books have been adapted for the screen, and he is widely regarded as one of the very greatest writers of detective fiction.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chandler's writing is oil slick. So easy, so intelligent, so very cool. As usual the characters are somehow subtle but eccentric all at once and the similes and descriptions are stylishly inventive. The plot doesn't weave and deceive as much as some of his other novels but this didn't detract from the story for me.
The Marlowe in TLITL is less hostile, less paranoid, less aggressive than in some of the other novels. This makes me like him more but some readers may prefer his younger, spikier self.
Still, like all the other Chandler-Marlowe novels, reading it is an exceptional way to pass the time. I can only imagine literary snobbery towards crime fiction is the reason why Chandler is not held up as one of the 20th century's greatest writers.
I think Chandler was a truly great writer of English. Marlowe has the tough one-liners and smart comebacks, of course, but he also has wonderful, meditative passages on the human condition which you hardly notice as being meditative because they are so well done. Marlowe is, under the hard-boiled exterior, a moral and humane man with a deep understanding of people which enables him to get to the heart of things and it is this which makes Chandler's books stand out as fine novels as well as first-class detective stories.
The other aspect of Chandler's sheer brilliance is his characterization. Everyone, even the most minor of characters, is drawn convincingly and with immense skill. They generally seem to paint their own portraits through what they say and do rather than a lot of the laborious psychological theorising which can get so tiresome in lesser detective novels. For example, Jim Patton, the Constable (effectively sherrif) of a small mountain county is a creation of genius, I think.
Few people will need an endorsement from me to persuade them to read a Chandler novel, but I would recommend this very warmly indeed. Plot, place and characters are all brilliantly done: it is, quite simply, superb.
That said, it is a very solid structurally assembled novel, far better built, and infinitely more comprensible than, say, 'The Big Sleep'. Here, as with so many of his novels, Chandler knits together two separate stories - the disappearance of a society wife, and a murderer on the run. There are superb characters galore - the vile louche lounge lizard, the sheriff, the guy looking after the cabin, the detective, the part-time newspaper editor, and so on. All well drawn. There are also some neat references to the effect that the distant WW2 is having on people. For me, however, I would have to place it as my 4th equal favorite Chandler novel (along with The High Window). But still, a very robust 5 stars.
Chandler was known for his sharp dialogue and clever use of metaphor, though actually I found the wise-cracking one-liners a bit much at times. It can make the characters seem all rather similar if they all talk the same way. But this doesn't detract from a fast-paced drama with some great scenes, a neat twist, and an atmospheric feel of time and place. The intricate plot concerns the disappearance of two women and starts with a body in a lake, which is about all one can say without giving too much away. It includes the usual Chandler props of alcoholic tough guys and bungling cops, but it's a formula that works. An entertaining read, much better than watching TV (unless one of those old Bogart films happens to be playing).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Drink deep of this great masterpiece of crime noire. A gripping and violent novel far superior to the movies of his work. Read morePublished 26 days ago by John Coffey
Classic Raymond Chandler.. Evokes 30/40 Los Angeles wonderfully. A brilliant scene painterPublished 1 month ago by Mr. James F. Mcdonald
A surprisingly better novel than his 2nd & 3rd entries. This almost feels like 'Mr Marlowe Takes A Vacation', as he takes time out of Los Angeles and heads off into the mountains... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lee Wright
Why did I wait so long to read Raymond Chandler? I love his work, I have downloaded all the Philip Marlowe books & enjoyed them immensely - can't help seeing Bogart while I read! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Joan C