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The greatest of the hard-boiled LA crime-writers,
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This review is from: The Big Sleep and Other Novels (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This volume brings together The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, and The Long Goodbye, three of Chandler's best works. In many ways, they are exactly what you expect: tough guys, smart-dressed gangsters, icy-blonde and cold-hearted dames... but there's so much more to it.
Chandler has a great prose style, self-consciously lush, with action driven on by Philip Marlowe's wry narration and sharp, witty dialogue. Each novel revolves around elements of murder-mystery, but they are also about love, addiction, the American Dream, corruption, and changing American Society. The Long Goodbye, published in 1953, is the broadest in its gaze, with a story revolving around the painful legacy of the Second World War, alcoholism, and the far-reaching corruption of money. Marlowe is smart, tough, often inscrutable, but he's no invulnerable Superman, and it is his lingering sense of humanity, forever getting the better of his cynicism, which ultimately endears the character to the reader.
Read these novels: they're great for any fans of noire and of old-fashioned detective stories, but Chandler also deserves to be recognised as a great novelist, not just a hack like so many of his contemporaries (and some of his characters).