The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Raymond Chandler, along with Dashiell Hammett and James M Cain, were the masters and founders of Noir or hard-boiled fiction. Chandler had quite the ear for dialogue and was his descriptions were on par with Hemingway. Philip Marlowe is a character that should have his place among the stalwarts of literary characters. Marlowe is not a cartoon character like many of the tough guy detectives that came later. He's well-read, smokes a pipe, and plays chess (even if only by himself). All the hard-boiled detectives that came later were mere imitations.
The story itself is complicated and doesn't exactly go from point A to point B. Savor the cadence of the writing and enjoy the ride.
The story begins with Philip Marlowe meeting Terry Lennox outside a club one night in 1949. A year later, Lennox arrives at Marlowe’s house asking for a ride to Tijuana but does not tell Marlowe details of why.
Marlowe later learns that Lennox’ wife was murdered. Investigators think Marlowe helped aid Lennox in the death. When Marlowe is released from prison, it is revealed that Lennox committed suicide and left Marlowe a note containing a portrait of Madison and money.
What follows is a story where very little is as what it seems, at least at first.
I enjoyed this story immensely. It is the third (out of seven written) that I have read. Although Vintage Books has numbered the books 1 through 7, it isn't necessary to read them in any order. They all stand alone.
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