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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 June 2017
I love the style of Chandlers writing and the one liners, although written a while back, has dated in some respects , but the humour still carries. A great quote about Hemingway in the novel , about always repeating himself so much that you tend to believe eventually!!
The story in this novel I feel not one of his best, but still worth the read.
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on 30 May 2016
Have read it many times and I think it gets better every time
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on 27 April 2017
marlow at his best.
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on 24 April 2017
a good read
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on 31 August 2017
Good 2nd hand
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on 13 September 2016
A sublime text, marred only but the archaic racial language, especially in the opening chapters. Within context, (both historical and literary) I think this is ok, however, it's up to you to write a modern masterpiece if you don't agree :)

One of the few books that merits the term "masterpiece", this is the literary equivalent of a cigarette, a dizzy high leaving a somewhat bad taste in the mouth...
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on 14 September 2009
The wonderfully gritty language and menacing atmosphere of any Chandler novel is ever-present in this deep-noir adventure, to immediately grip the reader and dazzle her on every page. Characters come with a sizzling edge of hyper-reality - dames, dicks, shysters and poodles in a litany of love for the reeking underworld of Los Angeles in its heyday.

On a nothing of a job, Marlowe gets caught up with a brute in love - Moose Molloy is out of the slammer and looking for his lady, Velma. But Velma doesn't want to be found and the trail Marlowe is accidentally forced to follow runs cold before taking a distinctly dangerous angle.

As always the plot is labyrinthine and unguessable until well-over halfway through, but it's the wisecracks that make it all worth while as Chandler takes us on a thrill-packed roller-coaster ride, complete with enough twists, tunnels, and turns to satisfy any reader. But it is in the quieter moments of meditation that come with a high literary value that Chandler reveals a poetic sensibility and intelligence that might suggest he is wasted on crime. I would argue, however, (and many critics would agree with me) that it is also here that we find the crossover abilities that put his merit too high for any banal classification. Chandler is always more than just a crime writer. Reading his work is always pure, unalloyed pleasure.
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VINE VOICEon 9 June 2011
And you think 'The Big Sleep' is complicated? I dont know what is happening in the plot of this novel but, after a while, who cares anyway? Marlowe wisecracks his way around late 1930's Los Angeles taking a succession of sappings, druggings, pistol-whippings whilst consuming gallons of hard liqour.

There are five expositions of the plot before a befuddled Anne Riordan accuses Marlowe of 'guesswork'. Some of the one-liners and dialogue are just priceless. Of the gorgeous Mrs Grayle he says, 'she gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket' before topping it with, 'Whatever you needed, wherever you happened to be - she had it'.

Other reviewers rate this as Chandler's finest but I have reservations. Occasionally, the wisecracking is almost intrusive, 'I know I talk too smart' and even Grayle admonishes with, '..this isn't a bunch of gag lines , Mr Marlowe'. I feel guilty saying it, but at times 'Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid' flashed before me!Such reservations are akin to a speck of dust on the Crown Jewels.

Be aware that the novel has some unpleasant baggage, as various nasty prejudices are stridently espoused. Chandler cannot resist some nods to the detective novel genre (Sherlock, Philo Vance and Dr. Fell) as well as giving Ernest Hemingway a right kicking.

It's dark, corrupt and hard-boiled, yet it sparkles with wit and is beautifully paced.
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I don't read a lot of thrillers and this is the first Chandler I've read. As many have said before, this is a step and a half above your average good thriller, the reason being the wit and intelligence of the prose, the elegance of the descriptions and the understanding of character which is compassionate, passionate and cynical all at the same time.

His flip one-liners aren't just clever, but oil the wheels of the plot. Some of the references I couldn't understand, they belong to the period or the locality, but the plot moves along because the characters find common ground by means of their expressions in the shifting sands of what is acceptable and what is not in the way of behaviour.

Another thing is that reading this is a bit like watching a film, Los Angeles comes to life before your eyes.

On the downside there's a slight sense of not looking very far beneath the surface, it would slow the book down.
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on 17 May 2006
This is my first Marlow novel. I cherish its rememberance. I read it when I was about 15 and came like a blow in the stomach. Then I read all Marlow novels in a row.

Marlow is hired to protect a man while he perfoms some business. The man is killed and Marlow begins to investigate. It contains all the good topics of the black series: a honest, tough detective, beautiful gals, tough policemen, dirty politics, runaway gangsters...

This is a detection novel, but also - like good detective novels like Maigret, Waallander, Hammet - a social satire, a raw criticism of USA society and particularly of the affluent, rich, care-for-nothing upper class. The power of money can deform everybody, and little hope is there for the innocent or honest. Morality is nowhere to be found but in some obscure detective, some bitter police officers who cannot do anything about it.

But what I liked best was the clever dialoges, the witty conversation, the inteligent twists in the plot, which takes a new turn in every chapter. In the end, it was not so complicated. It was only a woman and a lot of money. But brother, it was worth the trouble.

In the end, love will take a rush at saving if only poetically those who are foolish enough to belive in love.

Worth the time.
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