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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 November 2013
The Big Sleep is a long way from what many readers would see as crime fiction. Colourful, vivid passages full of snappy and memorable characters. Philip Marlowe feels authentic and believeable and the cast of seedy and morally bankrupt characters makes the 'plot' relatively inconsequential when put next to the quality of dialogue and the location. A belting read - following on from The Maltese Falcon, it's a step up in weight really. Most encouragingly, there are no leaps of faith to solve a case or trap a killer, as the great writing doesn't need it.
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on 17 August 2013
But then I would of been surprised if it had...fantastic collection of Raymond Chandler classics....a must for fans of the old fashioned detective.....for me Marlowe will always be Humphrey Bogart and having watched him on screen I was able to imagine him in character as the old fashioned gravel-voiced gumshoe.....Chandler is a master of story telling; just brilliant.

The book itself was in immaculate condition and arrived exactly when it was suppose to...prompt, efficient and as customer friendly as ever! No complaints.
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on 7 February 2014
Raymond Chandler's writing is superb - as most people reading these reviews will have already noted. Chandler is a master of dialogue; and the sharpness of his wit is as breath-taking as it is dry. The modern reader may be rather alarmed at Philip Marlowe's alcohol consumption and the fact he drives after a heavy drinking session - but these books were written between 1939 and 1953 when people had more important things to worry about; like Pearl Harbour and a couple of wars. As far as I'm concerned these minor flaws in the character of the hero do not detract from the enjoyment of his adventures.

The kindle version has some faults noted by other reviewers, mainly that it's hard to navigate. But on the positive side it's excellent value for money.
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on 14 December 2012
These three stories are among his best known and are full of his cynical observations of California life in the fifties peppered with smart one-liners on every page. Marlowe is the archetype of all modern police and detective main characters as honest outsiders battling against a corrupt society and although in some respects the stories might be considered to be a bit dated (but not as much as, for example, Agatha Christie) they are tightly written, fit into the period perfectly and will not disappoint. The big sleep and The long good bye are the ones I liked the best, the first for the witty wisecracks, the other for the narrative Farewell my lovely I thought the weakest of the three. Altogether excellent value.
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on 21 December 2009
Finishing this set of novels is like losing a friend. The Long Goodbye also was Chandler's goodbye to his readers. Raymond Chandler only wrote six novels, excluding the controversial postscript Playback, and the other three (The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, and The Little Sister) are best read first. Few will dispute that Chandler was a genius. His work oozes atmosphere. It is packed with witty, imperishable dialogue. The characterisation is strong, and what stereotyping it contains only serves to make it more picturesque. For the universe Chandler created, lodged in 1930s and 40s Los Angeles and ranging from sleazy back alleys to beautiful people's mansions, is one from which we only wrench ourselves with regret.

Hinting at these three novels' storylines would be useless. If this is classified as crime fiction, the plots, somewhat implausible (especially of the last two novels), serve as an excuse for painting a world of danger and corruption into which, in the author's own words, `a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid'. That man is Philip Marlowe, the protagonist of all of Chandler's novels, immortalised by Bogart in the movie adaptation of The Big Sleep. One reason Chandler wrote so little is that he came to writing late in life, publishing his first short story at age forty-five. Chandler fought in the First World War and led a tortured life, no doubt influencing his dark, sarcastic style. But with numerous stories and film scripts to his record, he was also, alongside Dashiell Hammett, a leading figure of what soon became known as the `noir' genre. Chandler's views on detective fiction, and on writing in general, are presented in his succinct The Simple Art of Murder, available online and well worth looking up.
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on 18 October 2007
"It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars."

- Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep

And thus began the criteria for what a private eye would look like and what his moral code would be. Raymond Chandler, author of the Philip Marlowe series of crime novels, set the bar high and generations would follow in his writing footsteps.

Raymond Chandler is considered to be one of the most influential writers of crime fiction and his phenomenal creation of the detective Philip Marlowe has survived decades.

Every time a modern reader discovers a new private eye who is facing some interesting and very tough times but is able to do it with integrity and a strict moral code alongwith a "soldier's eye"; you are meeting Raymond Chandler the writer all over again. And Philip Marlowe his creation is playing a pivotal role in the background.

Raymond Chandler wrote seven detective novels but THE BIG SLEEP is probably his best out of the three in this edition. He was in his fifties when he wrote these novels; yet the first novel cited: THE BIG SLEEP would become an American landmark in the hard-boiled detective genre and would really launch Chandler into the international icon that he is today.

The reader will discover unified themes with strong and fully developed characters with incredible imagery and metaphors. Chandler's literary style is distinctive and very crisp. You will love his writing and it brings back nostalgia for a time long past. If you are new to hard-boiled detective stories, this is the series that I would start with

In the first novel THE BIG SLEEP you will be introduced to the Sternwoods: General Sternwood, Vivian and Carmen and all three are interesting studies and all three as General Sternwood notes hasn't "any more moral sense than a cat." General Sternwood is on his deathbed and hired Philip Marlowe to check out why he was being blackmailed by one Arthur Gwynn Geiger. His two daughters, Vivian and Carmen, are quite a handful but General Sternwood feels in part responsible for his plight. As he tells Marlow, "I need not add that a man who indulges in parenthood for the first time at the age of fifty-four deserves all he gets." He describes his two daughters as being "spoiled, exacting, smart and ruthless with the younger girl as being the type who likes to pull wings off flies".

Chandler's novels do highlight crooks and morally-corrupt characters and derelicts, but they are counter-balanced by Marlowe, Bernie Ohls, and General Sternwood--all of whom possess a strong sense of honor, a consideration of what is proper and are for the most part trying to live a life above board.

There are numerous murders that take place in all three of these detective Marlowe novels and a tight interwoven plot which will keep you on the edge of your seat until you get to the last page.

Just as an interesting sideline, when THE BIG SLEEP (the first of Chandler's novels) was published in 1939 there was only an advance of 5,000 copies by Alfred A. Knopf. However, Knopf knew the power and the contribution that this novel would make. They actually took out an advertisement for this book on the front cover of the Publisher's Weekly which was most unusual for a novelist's first book.

The dust jacket flaps read:

"Not since Dashiell Hammett appeared has there been a murder mystery story with the power, pace, and terrifying atmosphere of this one. And like Hammett's this is more than a "murder mystery": it is a novel of crime and character, written with uncommon skill in a tight, tense style which is irresistible."

And so it was. I would highly recommend reading these crime novels and being introduced to Philip Marlowe. THE BIG SLEEP was made into a movie starring Bogart and Bacall with the screen play being written by William Faulkner no less.

Don't miss these novels. I almost did.

Rating: A

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on 30 October 2013
I was not disappointed with the books and was a pure joy to read. If you like your detective to be a hard-nosed private eye who takes no for an answer with an irreverent sense humour this is a must for you. The Godfather of the great PI stories where every other writer as followed in his literary footsteps. The pages are filled with killer dames, bad guys and cops who resent Marlowe poking his nose in their business. If you like great crime writing you can't get much better.
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on 11 November 2013
I'm a long time reader of George Pelecanos and Chandler is a name he has mentioned numerous times as an influence and an inspiration.

It's very easy to see why, excellent dialogue, great supporting characters and in Philip Marlowe a superb lead character with acerbic wit and an eye for the ladies.

An absolute joy to read and I can't wait to read the rest of Chandlers work.

5 knockout blondes out of 5.
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on 28 November 2012
If you like reading get this, its as simple as that. Also i would recommend getting the other combined novels first and read the books in order of original publishing. SO please, do cross over since Marlowe grows with each story and so does the evolution of Chandler's writing style. Fascinating to see Marlowe grow into someone entirely different but yet the same in chandlers final novel.

Fantastic books.
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on 17 April 2012
The Big Sleep like Chandler's other stories had a strong voice and sense of place. An enjoyable read. The experience of reading it on a Kindle was not so good, not because of the usual Kindle experience, but because there are other novels in this publication, the beginning and end of the novel wasn't obvious. With the same protagonist and Chandler's distinctive style I was trying to connect the characters and events of the second novel to the first and was on the third novel before I realised my error. One novel at a time on a Kindle upload or a proper book I think.
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