- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (3 Nov. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241956323
- ISBN-13: 978-0241956328
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Lady in the Lake (Phillip Marlowe) Paperback – 3 Nov 2011
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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
But if you know Chandler's history, look out for references to "the lads". (And the whisky)
Just superb, superb.
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.
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.
The story sees Derace Kingsley, a wealthy businessman, hires Marlowe to find his estranged wife, Crystal. Although separated from his wife, Kingsley fears that Crystal— rich, pretty, spoiled and reckless—may have become involved in a scandal that could jeopardize his position with the shareholders of the company of which he is an executive. The last definite place Crystal was known to have been was their vacation cabin on Little Fawn Lake. Kingsley had received a telegram from Crystal about two weeks before (dateline El Paso, Texas) stating that she was divorcing him and marrying her gigolo boyfriend, Chris Lavery. But when Kingsley ran into Lavery in L.A. and asked him where Crystal was, Lavery told him that he hadn't seen her, wasn't with her in El Paso, didn't know where she was, and never agreed, or wanted, to marry her.
Marlowe begins his investigation with a visit to Chris Lavery in the corrupt neighboring town of Bay City (modeled on Santa Monica). Lavery disclaims any interest in or involvement with Crystal Kingsley. While watching Lavery's house, Marlowe is threatened by the police, who suspect him of watching Lavery's neighbor, Dr. Almore. A tough cop named Al Degarmo accuses Marlowe of harassing Almore. Marlowe discovers that Almore's wife died under suspicious circumstances and that her death was by the police.
Marlowe moves his investigations to Little Fawn Lake. Kingsley has given him a note to the caretaker of his vacation home, Bill Chess. Chess is in an alcoholic haze, depressed over having been abandoned by his wife, Muriel, at about the same time as Crystal disappeared.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Few modern readers know that Raymond Chandler spent his formative years (12-24) in England and returned to the US with a posh British accent. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
I was so pleased to find this in the bookstore. It's my favourite ChandlerPublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
I brought this item as a present for someone for birthday or Christmas.Published 9 months ago by Minesh Patel
"You should read this" "have you read this yet?" "when are you going to read this? Read morePublished 12 months ago by Joe Oak
I have just re-read this for probably the 6th or 7th time, but I hadn't read it for at least a decade. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sid Nuncius