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Later novels and other writings

af Raymond Chandler

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
643526,815 (4.58)5
"Later Novels and Other Writings begins with The Lady in the Lake (1943). Written during the war, the story takes Marlowe out of the seamy L.A. streets to the deceptive tranquility of the surrounding mountains, as the search for a businessman's missing wife expands into an elegy of loneliness and loss. The darker tone typical of Chandler's later fiction is evident in The Little Sister (1949), in which an ambitious starlet, a blackmailer, and a seemingly naive young woman from Manhattan, Kansas, are the key players in a plot that provides fuel for a bitter indictment of Hollywood and Chandler's most savage portrayal of his adopted city. The Long Goodbye (1953), his most ambitious and self-revealing novel, uncovers a more anguished resonance in the Marlowe character, in a plot that hinges on the betrayal of friendship and the compromises of middle age. Playback (1958), written originally as a screenplay, is Chandler's seventh and last novel." "A special feature of this volume is Chandler's long-unavailable screenplay for the film noir classic Double Indemnity (1944), adapted from James M. Cain's novel. Supplementing the volume, and providing a more personal glimpse of Chandler's personality, are a selection of essays - including "The Simple Art of Murder," in which Chandler muses on his pulp roots and on the special qualities of his hero and style - and eleven letters that range wittily and often sardonically over the worlds of writing, publishing, and filmmaking."--BOOK JACKET.… (mere)

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  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Reviewing the novels separately again, but will give little synopses here plus the review of the essays and 'Double Indemnity' script below.

7/25/2012 - 'The Lady in the Lake': 4 Stars

Self-referential humor and a shift in setting showcases how Chandler's style survives outside of L.A.

2/18/2013 - 'The Little Sister': 3 Stars

L.A. (and Hollywood (and, of course, Bay City)) is getting to Marlowe. Jaded and bitter, he contends with another woman with a problem who can't or won't tell him what he needs to know. A frustrated and dark book.

1/20/2011,
10/22/2013 - 'The Long Goodbye': 5 Stars

A masterpiece that holds up to a rereading.

3/30/2014 - 'Playback': 2 Stars

Underwhelming and slight. It might almost be one of the stories from volume one.

5/5/2014 - 'Double Indemnity (Screenplay)': 4 Stars

Much more like it. Two debased, star-crosseds try to cheat the system, and are no match in the end for the actuarial tables.

10/28/2014 - Selected Essays and Letters: 4 Stars

The man behind the writing comes out in essays published in 'Atlantic Monthly' and in personal notebooks about the craft of the mystery story and why author Edmund Wilson is an old woman. His letters were great fun.

See also:

'Raymond Chandler: Stories and Early Novels' ( )
1 stem ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
The novels are excellent, of course, and available elsewhere, but this edition also has letters and essay that add to my appreciation of Chandler. ( )
  Lewter | Dec 3, 2016 |
The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler’s fourth Philip Marlowe novel, was written just a few months after Pearl Harbor (published in 1943) but there are surprisingly few references to the war in it. Perhaps this reflects Chandler’s take on how the war affected Americans of the day – that, unless a son or husband was in the military, everyday life went on pretty much as normal. Or maybe he simply did not want to clutter up his murder mystery with too many references to such a catastrophic world event. Whatever his reasoning may have been, The Lady in the Lake still holds up well when compared to most of the crime fiction being produced today.

Philip Marlowe has been hired by Derace Kingsley, a perfume company tycoon, to find his missing wife, a woman Kingsley believes has run off to Mexico with her lover. As a place to begin his search, Kingsley points Marlowe in the direction of the couple’s remote getaway cabin located in the California hills on Little Fawn Lake. While being shown around the site, Chandler and the property’s caretaker, Bill Chess, spot a woman’s body in the shallow waters of the lake. That is when Chandler realizes that he is dealing with something much more complicated than the search for a man’s runaway wife.

Raymond Chandler is deservedly well known for his noir fiction and The Lady in the Lake is representative of that style. The novel is filled with strong characters bordering on what have become almost stereotypical types in noir fiction, all of whom play their parts well but offer little in the way of surprises. Derace Kingsley is the hard headed businessman who has little time or respect for those who do not play in his league. Al Degarmo is a brutal cop so confident and high on himself because of his unchallenged power on the streets that he has no fear of ever being exposed. On the other hand, two of Chandler’s characters do have a nice feel of authenticity about them: Bill Chess, the cantankerous caretaker at Little Fawn Lake, and Sheriff Jim Patton whose jurisdiction includes the lake area. Patton, in particular, is one of those memorable characters with whom most readers will easily identify.

The flaw in The Lady in the Lake appears late. As the book nears its finish, Chandler’s hardcore style morphs into what more resembles the Agatha Christie school of cozy detective fiction endings. Trapped in a small cabin with the person he believes is a coldblooded killer and the lawman that can make the arrest, Marlowe begins a monologue during which he notes and eliminates, one-by-one, the possible suspects. Marlowe does manage to spook his suspect into a fatal mistake, but it is always a letdown to the reader to have so much action take place “offstage.”

The Lady in the Lake is not considered classic Chandler in the way that The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely are, but Chandler fans will not want to miss it.

Rated at: 4.0

(This Library of America edition is 5 stars all the way - The Lady in the Lake is a 4-star novel.) ( )
1 stem SamSattler | Feb 13, 2012 |
Other than Playback, which is a rejected screenplay turned into a novel that can't stand side by side with his other works, everything in this book is classic. I like the Long Goodbye the best. It is Chandler's longest novel, probably the most unguarded and truly meaningful. This makes it rise a bit above the other works, which are all perfectly crafted but rather inscrutable.

After reading all of Chandler's novels, it is clear that he didn't vary much as a writer. But his sheer talent for putting words together was so great that he stands as one of the geniuses of American literature. Comparing him to Hammett, he is completely unadventurous, both in subject matter and style, but he nevertheless emerges as his equal.

There are no excuses for not reading every word Chandler wrote! Let's be honest: even among us avid readers, we still rarely encounter those writers whose books are so much pleasure to read. ( )
1 stem datrappert | Nov 26, 2008 |
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"Later Novels and Other Writings begins with The Lady in the Lake (1943). Written during the war, the story takes Marlowe out of the seamy L.A. streets to the deceptive tranquility of the surrounding mountains, as the search for a businessman's missing wife expands into an elegy of loneliness and loss. The darker tone typical of Chandler's later fiction is evident in The Little Sister (1949), in which an ambitious starlet, a blackmailer, and a seemingly naive young woman from Manhattan, Kansas, are the key players in a plot that provides fuel for a bitter indictment of Hollywood and Chandler's most savage portrayal of his adopted city. The Long Goodbye (1953), his most ambitious and self-revealing novel, uncovers a more anguished resonance in the Marlowe character, in a plot that hinges on the betrayal of friendship and the compromises of middle age. Playback (1958), written originally as a screenplay, is Chandler's seventh and last novel." "A special feature of this volume is Chandler's long-unavailable screenplay for the film noir classic Double Indemnity (1944), adapted from James M. Cain's novel. Supplementing the volume, and providing a more personal glimpse of Chandler's personality, are a selection of essays - including "The Simple Art of Murder," in which Chandler muses on his pulp roots and on the special qualities of his hero and style - and eleven letters that range wittily and often sardonically over the worlds of writing, publishing, and filmmaking."--BOOK JACKET.

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