Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on 23 April 2012
'What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now.'
I only started reading Raymond Chandler's books because they were next to Agatha Christie on the library shelves. But almost from the first paragraph of The Big Sleep I was hooked and I've read the entire series now.
I love the snappy dialogue, the memorable descriptions and the marvellous evocation of life on the Californian coast. In the first chapter here, we meet members of the rich, crazy Sternwood family and its patriarch, in an overheated glasshouse filled with orchids ('those nasty flowers'). More importantly, we're introduced to Philip Marlowe and his hard-drinking, wise-cracking, disrespectful ways.
Above all, I relish the moral subtlety of the book. Unlike most mysteries, the hero decides (like Miss Marple) that sometimes it is best to let sleeping murder lie and allow people to keep their illusions if the truth will do no other than harm them.
In short then, a fun, readable masterpiece.