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The Little Sister Mass Market Paperback – 7 Jul 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 7 Jul 2005
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (7 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140108963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140108965
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 987,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence' Daily Telegraph 'One of the greatest crime writers, who set the standards others still try to attain' Sunday Times 'Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence' - Ross Macdonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence.' (The Daily Telegraph)

'One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards others still try to attain.' (The Sunday Times)

'Chandler is an original stylist, creator of a character as immortal as Sherlock Holmes.' (Anthony Burgess) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE LITTLE SISTER is terrific mystery that concludes with a gruesome incident of sudden (albeit implausible) poetic justice. By my count, TLS has five murders and a suicide, with Philip Marlowe a step too slow to prevent any crime but way ahead of the cops (and this reader) as he identifies the perps and unravels their interlaced motives.

There are lots of standard Raymond Chandler elements in TLS, including gangsters, devious deadly dames, and a film-noir Los Angeles. But in contrast to other Chandler novels I've read, there seems to be even less effort to elucidate the sour integrity of the lonely Marlowe. Since this is the fifth novel in the series, Chandler probably felt such explication would add little to, and might actually detract from, his spare and disciplined style. On the other hand, Chandler tells us more about the movie business in TLS and his dialogue is never better. Among my marginalia is: "Conversation as combat."

In TLS, it's the cops that bring out the best in Ray. When they're on the page, Chandler's wonderful metaphors seem sharpest, his skillful screen writer's dialogue carries the most freight, and his rhetoric absolutely soars. Here's Chandler letting loose, as Lieutenant Christy French berates Marlowe:

"It's like this with us, baby. We're coppers and everybody hates our guts. And as if we didn't have enough trouble, we have to have you. As if we didn't get pushed around enough by the guys in the corner offices, the City Hall gang, the day chief, the night chief, the Chamber of Commerce, His Honor the Mayor. ...We spend our lives turning over dirty underwear and sniffing rotten teeth.
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Despite it's 1960's theme I adore the the film "Marlowe", which was released in 1969 and starred James Garner and had a great supporting cast that included Gayle Hunnicutt, Bruce Lee, Carol O'Connor, the one and only Rita Moreno, and Jackie Coogan et al. I first saw it on TV in the 1970's shortly after my parents had upgraded from a rental B&W TV set to a rental colour TV set. The film was brill and when I found out it was based on Chandler's book "The Little Sister" I became hooked.

In the B&W TV years & then later colour TV years I always watched and thoroughly enjoyed those movies built around Chandler's writing. Bogey & Bacall in "The Big Sleep", Dick Powell in "Farewell My Lovely", Robert Montgomery in "Lady in the Lake" (uniquely filmed in 1st person viewpoint) etc, and thats when I started buying his entire collection of novels and collections of short stories. My collection was complete and over the years I read and re-read all of the books, absorbing all of the stories (even the pre-Marlowe short stories that featured such characters as a hotel detective).

Just over 2 years ago myself and my wife moved house and guess what happened. Finally unpacked all packing boxes and I've lost the entire book collection (it may have been accidently left at a charity shop along with other items that weren't required when we moved, or might even have been left in a bin - I'll never know). The task for me now is to rebuild my collection from scratch.

My 3rd purchase (1st via amazon) is "The Little Sister". A brilliant novel with a very clever plot and a superb denouement. The way the book ends leaves me wanting more and thats such a good feeling. You almost want to complete the story arc to your own satisfaction but Chandler purposely ends the story in that particular way, and it's so utterly mesmerising. A message to Raymond Chandler from beyond the grave. I salute you and I thank you so very much.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
I think Raymond Chandler was a truly great writer of English and at his best a truly great novelist. Sadly, this isn't one of his great novels.

At his best Marlowe is tough, certainly, but he is also a thoughtful, moral and humane man. His meditative reflections on things are insightful and witty and although they're sometimes very world-weary, there is a sense of decency and sometimes compassion to them. He takes no nonsense from anyone and is quite often provocatively rude, but he has genuine sympathy for people like General Sternwood in The Big Sleep and Anne Riordan in Farewell My Lovely, for example, and his befriending of Terry Lennox and its consequences in The Long Goodbye are genuinely touching. However, in The Little Sister there is a pretty unremitting tide of jaded cynicism, unredeemed by much in the way of humanity.

Chandler is plainly disgusted by much of what he saw and experienced as a Hollywood screenwriter and is attacking it here - which is fair enough - but the unrelenting nastiness and sarcasm much of the time in The Little Sister isn't really worthy of such a great writer. Dialogue, too, is too often reduced to interchangeable tough guys trading wisecracks, rather than the individual, realistic voices sprinkled with brilliant lines which he produced at his best. There are none of the superbly drawn more minor characters he creates in other novels, like Jim Patton, Eddie Prue or Lieutenant Nulty, to name just three which spring immediately to mind. The similes are still there, of course, but seldom of the quality of "he was as thin as an honest alibi" or "I felt like an amputated leg." Marlowe's interactions with women are for the most part downright unpleasant as, one after another, they throw themselves at him...and so on.
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