In Raymond Chandler's final novel, Playback, Philip Marlowe finds himself hired by an attorney that he doesn't know to follow a woman without giving any reason, only to report back to the attorney with periodic updates. Marlowe begins to suspect that he is not being given enough information, so he attempts to dig further. This, of course, brings him into contact with several unsavory characters, along with the woman he is supposed to follow. As one would guess, as they say, the plot thickens.
Playback was published in Great Britain in July of 1958 and the US the following October. Raymond Chandler died the following year. That being said, Playback is not Chandler's best work, perhaps reflecting his ongoing health issues. One senses that Chandler felt he felt an urgency to finish the novel but was unable to give it a final edit.
Despite this, it is still a classic noir tale. Chandler and Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon) were the creators and masters of the noir, or hard-boiled, genre. Despite its minor flaws, such as a fairly pat finale, Playback will still be an important part of Chandler's canon.
The novel was reworked from an original screenplay by Chandler. Ironically, Playback is the only novel by Chandler not made into a film.
I recommend this book as an important part of the noir genre, with 4 out of 5 stars.
More books by Raymond Chandler:
The Big Sleep
Farewell, My Lovely
The Long Goodbye
The Lady in the Lake
The High Window
The Little Sister
Trouble is My Business (short stories)
The Simple Art of Murder (short stories)
All links are to Thriftbooks. Of course, check your local used or independent book store.
To read more about Raymond Chandler, follow the link here.