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My apologies in advance, but this is an "on the one hand/on the other hand" review.  On the one hand, for anyone who loves Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe, as I do, it is great to have a new story featuring the "Galahad of the Gutter", even if Chandler only wrote the first three chapters.  And Robert B. Parker ( of Spenser fame) does a competent job of completing the story.

On the other hand, despite the exception of Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, I think that the modern trend of giving private eyes buddies and girlfriends has been a catastrophic development for the hard boiled novel.  The very essence of these novels, epitomized in The Maltese Falcon, Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer series and the other Philip Marlowe stories, is the independence and accompanying vulnerability of the detectives.  So this Marlowe story, which finds him married to a wealthy heiress and comfortably ensconced in Poodle Springs (a thinly veiled Pal Springs), is disappointing evidence that even a master of the genre was drifting in this direction when he died.

The mystery here is vintage Chandler, with blackmail, pornography, polygamy and the like and when the focus turns to Marlowe working on the case it is quite good.  But the scenes between him and his wife, particularly the tensions between them as a result of his insistence on a return to detecting, bring the story to a screeching halt every time it builds up a head of steam.

The result is a very mixed bag and an extremely tentative recommendation--an airplane book.


Grade: (C)


See also:

Raymond Chandler (2 books reviewed)
Private Eyes
Raymond Chandler Links:
-ESSAY: Why Marlowe is still the chief of detectives: Fifty years after Raymond Chandler died, we need his ‘shop-soiled’ Galahad Philip Marlowe as much as ever to put our mixed-up world to rights. (Mick Hume, 12/30/09, Spiked Review of Books)

Book-related and General Links:
    -DISCUSSION GROUP: Re: RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled vs Noir & Poodle Springs
    -ESSAY: Stalking Raymond Chandler's Spirit  By TOM STOPPARD
    -Crime Writers (David King)
    -Philip Marlowe Created by Raymond Chandler (Thrilling Detective)
    -Shamus: A Tribute to Philip Marlowe
    -Robert B. Parker and Raymond Chandler (from Shamus)
    -BIBLIO: Robert B. Parker
    -Robert B. Parker (Mostly Fiction)
    -ROBERT B. PARKER (Stop, You're Killing Me!)
    -Robert B. Parker's Complete Bookshelf  With Reviews and Reader Comments (Oxford Books)

    -BIO: Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) (kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: Your search: "raymond chandler"
    -FEATURED AUTHORS: NY Times Book Review
    -Raymond Chandler's Ten Commandments For the Detective Novel (Thrilling Detective)
    -Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) (Bohemian Ink)
    -BIBLIO: Raymond Thornton Chandler
    -Raymond Chandler
    -The Raymond Chandler Website: scholarship and information about Raymond Chandler
    -Trouble is my Business: A Raymond Chandler Tribute
    -Crime Writers (David King)
    -Philip Marlowe Created by Raymond Chandler (Thrilling Detective)
    -Shamus: A Tribute to Philip Marlowe
    -Robert B. Parker and Raymond Chandler (from Shamus)
    -Raymond Chandler (David J. King)
    -Raymond Chandler (Rara-Avis)
    -Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959) (History of Mystery)
    -Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
    -AMAZON LINKED BIBLIO: Big Bill's Raymond Chandler (UK) Stuff!
    -ESSAY: Stalking Raymond Chandler's Spirit  By TOM STOPPARD
    -ESSAY: An Introduction to the Big Sleep (The Raymond Chandler Website)
    -ESSAY: 45 Calibrations of Raymond Chandler (Peter Straub, Conjunctions)
    -ESSAY: Raymond Chandler and His Followers (A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page)
    -READING GROUP GUIDE : The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (Random House)
    -REVIEW: of the Big Sleep (ISAAC ANDERSON , NY Times, February 12, 1939)
    -REVIEW: of RAYMOND CHANDLER Stories and Early Novels & RAYMOND CHANDLER Later Novels (Robert B. Parker, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: Joyce Carol Oates: The Simple Art of Murder, NY Review of Books
        Stories and Early Novels by Raymond Chandler
        Later Novels and Other Writings by Raymond Chandler
    -REVIEW: of The Big Sleep (Mystery Guide)
    -REVIEW: of SELECTED LETTERS OF RAYMOND CHANDLER Edited by Frank MacShane (Larry McMurtry, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of POODLE SPRINGS By Raymond Chandler and Robert B.Parker (Ed McBain, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of PERCHANCE TO DREAM Robert B. Parker's Sequel to Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep." By Robert B. Parker (Martin Amis, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-Fiction Edited by Tom Hiney and Frank MacShane (Robert McCrum , books unlimited)
    -REVIEW : of  Raymond Chandler: A biography by Tom Hiney (Kevin Macdonald , books unlimited)
    -REVIEW: of Raymond Chandler: A Biography By Tom Hiney (R. W. B. LEWIS, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Raymond Chandler by Tom Hiney (Anthony LeJeune, National Review)
    -REVIEW: of Raymond Chandler: A Biography By Tom Hiney (Allen Barra, MetroActive)
    -REVIEW: of Raymond Chandler A Biography by Tom Hiney ( Martin Edwards, Tangled Web)
    -REVIEW: of Raymond Chandler A Biography by Tom Hiney (YVONNE CRITTENDEN -- Toronto Sun)

    -REVIEW : "The Big Sleep" Humphrey Bogart and Howard Hawks get Raymond Chandler so right, who cares if the plot doesn't square? (Michael Sragow, Salon)

    -African American Mystery Page
    -Black Street Fiction
    -Crime Writers (David King)
    -Dangerous Dames: A Timeline of Some of the Major Female Eyes (Thrilling Detectives)
    -Edgar Award: Best First Novel
    -Film Noir and Pulp Fiction
    -A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection
    -Gumshoe Site
    -Hardboiled : online reference site for all things noir
    -Hardboiled Heaven
    -Hard Boiled Noir Webring
    -Martin's Film Noir Page
    -Mysterious Home Page The Online Mystery Network
    -Mystery Net Awards Page
    -No Night Sweats
    -RARA-AVIS : mailing list devoted to the discussion of hardboiled (and noir) fiction
    -The Reader's Corner presents  Female Sleuths
    -Thrilling Detective Website
    -Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang
    -Women of Mystery (Bookaholic)