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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, classy detective fiction of the very best quality
I can't tell you how much I love Chandler's poetic, vivid 1940s LA, and his magnificent creation, PI Philip Marlowe, through whose eyes you see that world. I return to Chandler whenever I've just thrown some Booker-nominated piece of rubbish across the room, and need to remind myself what proper writing is. I namecheck him wherever I go but don't seem to sign up too many...
Published on 11 Sept. 2012 by Louise the book worm

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long Suffering
This is the least satisfactory of the major Marlowe novels, an over-long and often pretentiously written piece that betrays our man tapping away at the typewriter keys at the start, hoping against hope that a decent story will occur to him. There's padding to bear this out; when Terry Lennox goes to Marlowe's house to beg a lift to Tijuana, RC goes into great and...
Published 16 days ago by Mike Collins


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, classy detective fiction of the very best quality, 11 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
I can't tell you how much I love Chandler's poetic, vivid 1940s LA, and his magnificent creation, PI Philip Marlowe, through whose eyes you see that world. I return to Chandler whenever I've just thrown some Booker-nominated piece of rubbish across the room, and need to remind myself what proper writing is. I namecheck him wherever I go but don't seem to sign up too many new recruits. I can't understand why, but I've long since given up wondering, and just go into the kitchen and make myself a drink instead and channel chess-playing, bitter, handsome wreck, Marlowe, the "shop-soiled Galahad" (isn't that perfect?).

Like Dashiell Hammett, Chandler honed his considerable detective novel skills in pulp fiction (he also had a very interesting life prior to that), but neither are throwaway paperback writers. He's also no Hammett. Where Hammett is taking influences from Japan and the taut, terse world of the Samurai, writing exercises in brevity and control, Chandler is somewhere more fluid and lyrical, writing with humour and a style that removes his fiction to an altogether higher plane than your average high street detective. His plots are famously contorted and his one-liners legendary.

Philip Marlowe is a knight errant; he's brave and takes a punch, he makes mistakes and gets back up to finish the job. He's smart and clever - sometimes too smart for his own good. He's lonely but he doesn't make a move to change that. He's a just-good enough man - good enough to have friends where they matter; good enough to deserve to bust open the problem before him and solve it, whatever happens. Where Hammett's Continental Op might stand in a room and let everyone shoot it out, and then cooly unpick the lies everyone has told, Chandler's Marlowe is always diving in and saving somebody and getting his head bashed in in the process. He never makes any money; he's not a "success". But he is, of course, a completely wonderful portrait of a man that doesn't exist.

In "The Long Goodbye" there's a deep life-weariness in Marlowe (Chandler!) which gives a bitter tang to even the most elegant prose. It's as if his world is darkening; the moral ambiguities altogether less ambiguous. I'm not going to describe the story - I'm sure that's been done better by other reviewers. Just read it, please. If you like good writing that tends to the lyrical, you'll have found a lifetime author, one of the ones you'll always want on your bookshelf. Chandler's Marlowe will still be in print when the latest prizewinner with the record-breaking advance has long since been pulped. Which is ironic.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-boiled brilliance from the master of noir, 5 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
As the last novel about the immortal PI Philip Marlowe, "The Long Good-bye" has a lot to live up to. It delivers superbly. The story, a complex web of high society scandal and dark secrets which leads to murder and suicide, is confidently handled and plotted to perfection. Marlowe begins by helping a young drunk out of a car but events soon begin to spiral out of control. As the novel progresses, Marlowe tries to act decently in a world that refuses to play fair. However, what raises this, and most of Chandler's work, above the pulp thriller genre, is the concise and relaxed brilliance of the style and the central character.
Reading the novel is a joy: a sardonic smile or bitter laugh a constant companion. Every sentence is steeped in cool and dark humour; every page contains a witty aphorism or observation. The descriptions are economical and precise, but spiced with a spin of disappointed intelligence: more often than not Marlowe describes something as "not" like something else. This clever use of negative simile reflects the tone of the novel: dark and uncompromising about society with a pitch black sense of humour. One interesting fact is that Chandler's observations about society, and particularly American society, are as devastatingly accurate as ever. The message is clear: corruption, whether personal, social or political, is timeless.
The character of Marlowe is similarly timeless: his dry wit and bruised idealism still sympathetic and engaging. He has lost none of his appeal despite being reimagined and reivented so many times by so many writers in the last fifty years. Marlowe remains the most important and impressive protagonist in noir, and in "The Long Good-bye" Chandler confirms that he doesn't just easily attain the accolade of king of noir, he also makes a strong case to be considered among the greats of mid 20th century American literature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madison's portrait, 2 Feb. 2014
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Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This isn't Chandler/Marlowe's swansong (see 'Playback') but it is certainly the most mature of the series. It is a first-class crime thriller but it also genuinely aspires to novel status.

Chandler comments on social issues such as class, moral decline, the changing role of the police, politics and organised crime. Yet the book is essentially about more human issues such as trust and the nature of friendship and love. Marlowe's commitment to his friendship with Terry Lennox is like a moral beacon shining even brighter in the face of Menenedez's cheap denigration of him as 'Tarzan on a big red scooter'. This contrasts with Marlowe's ongoing failure to secure true love,'..in six months time, you won't know my name' is the cold assessment by the latest love interest. He knows it, she knows it.

The structure is typical Chandler with two big, apparently unrelated, stories and with Madison's portrait as a metaphor for temptation, greed and moral ambiguity in post-war America.

The ending was superbly handled and I was moved by this novel - not something one expects to say about an ostensible detective story.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chandler is, quite simply, The Don, 17 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
Having picked up by chance, and really enjoyed "The Big Sleep" I subsequently bought "The Last Goodbye" - and suffice to say it absolutely blew me away. Make absolutely no mistake about it, this is a superb book.
It is as dense and complex as other comments on this page suggest. This was absolutely without question Chandlers finest hour - Marlowe was never more bitter, caustic and cynical than in this book, and Chandler finally reached his peak with his most brutal writing, which was as sparse and unadorned as you could possible wish for. He'd saved every plot twist and every scathing, bitter Marlowe put down for this, and the end result, which stinks of cigarette smoke and whiskey, is glorious.
Frankly, this is the absolute epitome of "Noir" - ice cool, dangerous and moody, and Marlowe is the finest 'anti-hero' around.
Every American crime writer to this day is still left flapping in comparison.
Buy without hesitation!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 8 Oct. 2012
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For some people, the USA in the 50s was a golden age when values were simpler, the country was top dog and people believed in the 'American way'. Chandler hated it. Speaking through his creation - Philip Marlowe - he pours scorn on the love of money, the hypocrisy, crime and corruption and the shallowness of life in and around Los Angeles. Tough, unrelenting, the last honest man in a twisted, drunken and spoilt society, Marlowe is hard on others, and harder on himself. But he is true classic, the archetype that all other crime writers have to live up to. And what one-liners: "She slid away from him along the seat but her voice slid away a lot farther than that" Cold? "A slice of spumoni wouldn't have melted on her now".
The plot has surprises, guys with guns, a sense of mystery...but it is the way he tells it that makes this book unputdownable. If Chandler didn't like the way America was going in the 50s, goodness knows what he would have made of it now. But this book - and the hero who doesn't like money and what it does to people - puts down a marker that will last a very long time. There is not enough writing like this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, 8 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
I guess I was expecting more. Marlowe does deliver a good line here and there, but there's not much in the way of an investigation and some of the stuff he does figure out, seems contrived. I don't like it when a detective just knows something withoug figuring it out somehow. Plus Marlowe just throws himself into the guy's life with no good reason. I didn't buy into to that and Marlowe seems to have no fear or vices really. Maybe I was expecting more after seeing this was one of the top detective novels of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long Suffering, 8 May 2015
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
This is the least satisfactory of the major Marlowe novels, an over-long and often pretentiously written piece that betrays our man tapping away at the typewriter keys at the start, hoping against hope that a decent story will occur to him. There's padding to bear this out; when Terry Lennox goes to Marlowe's house to beg a lift to Tijuana, RC goes into great and unnecessary detail about making the coffee and giving him a drink - "Why did I go into such detail? Because the charged atmosphere made everything stand out as a performance etc etc..." Phooey! That's as close as a writer gets to apologising for not cracking on with things, and it's made because at that point RC had nothing to be getting on with. Indeed, he was having a creative panic. What follows is desperately laboured and convoluted to the point of absurdity. The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely are revealed narratives, flowing easily onto the page and from there into our imaginations. But this is so much huffing and puffing - complete with all the stock scenes like getting the third degree from the cops - in a forlorn bid to recapture former glories. And that's the long and the short of it, folks.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chandler's master work, 21 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
This is Chandler at his best. To me, this book isn't just a crime book, it's a meditation on the nature of friendship, loyalty, and alcoholism. Sure there's a murder, there's a missing man, and there's a payday for Philip Marlowe if he solves the case, so all the elements of a crime story are in place. Marlowe becomes friends with a drunk named Terry Lennox, who then goes missing. His wife is also murdered. Marlowe goes after Lennox, not because of the money, but because he is his friend. Marlowe is then hired to look after a writer, who is a violent drunk and potential killer. These two stories eventually link up - and the main link is ruined lives through booze. Through all this, Marlowe gets bounced around by gangsters and given the run around. It's another typical mazy plot, but this isn't really a plot driven story. It's character driven. Marlowe meets, drinks, and debates, with a host of characters who all have hard luck stories to tell. They are so well drawn, so real, that the insights on their lives have a wider meaning. Chandler is talking about a whole strata of American life. I'd put this up there with The Great Gatsby, an American tragedy, written through the genre of the crime novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down these mean streets a man must go..., 3 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Long Good-bye (Paperback)
A crime classic,read this then read the rest of his works.Chandler has the knack of putting you in Marlowes shoes has he tries to use every instinct he has to crack this case.Recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 May 2015
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Well written, the dialogue, the quips, the back handed comments, I always thought the films were scripted that way, but no, Chandler wrote them that way. I really enjoyed this book. I know that Bogart didn't play the part in this film (Elliot Gould did it) but I read it like Bogart. Brilliant!
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The Long Good-bye
The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler (Paperback - 28 Oct. 2010)
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