Said to be one of Chandler's best novels, I'm just glad I haven't read the others. An over-complicated plot with red herrings, irrelevant action, implausible characters and at least one unnecessary simile on every page, which boils down to a fairly simple idea that could have been far more effective if Chandler hadn't got carried away with over-elaborating.
At times it's difficult to follow because of Chandler's insistence on using 1940's slang and because the writing isn't very clear. Some of the similes work but many don't: the overall effect is of somebody trying too hard to be clever and failing, to the detriment of the story. It's dated and sloppy; none of the characters are convincing, from the cartoonish Moose Molloy to the implausibly flirtatious Mrs Grayle. It's hard to believe that such a flimsy work would be published today, or that it is still in print.
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