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.
Top customer reviews
All Chandler novels contain English idiom and values (chivalry, fairness, good manners). Here, he refers to a policeman as a ‘constable’. Marlowe’s repeated reply “I should imagine so” to a cop’s questions completely baffles the latter. The venue of chapter 17 is pure White’s in London, not the Athletic Club in LA. Otherwise, Raymond Chandler surely made a lasting impact on crime- and screenwriting with his language use, based on common West Coast speech of people belonging to different sections of society. Philip Marlowe in a voice entirely his own, informs the reader about his ongoing investigations. Finally, unlike most real and fictional private eyes of the era, Marlowe does not do divorce work.
Here, he is hired (at $25 pd plus expenses) to locate the whereabouts of his client’s wife, who walked out on him a month ago. No sign of life since. Marlowe proceeds to her last known abode, the couple’s lakeside cabin and soon after makes a horrible discovery (see title). Is she his client’s wife? Flawless and eventful classic with a great finish.
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.
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The story sees Derace Kingsley, a wealthy businessman, hires Marlowe to find his estranged wife, Crystal.Read more
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