Saturday, May 30, 2009

Farewell my lovely

By Raymond Chandler

Philip Marlowe has now become my favourite literary character since Captain Jack Aubrey. I love these novels. They bring the sense of mystery as a good crime novel ought to, and the way the plot twists back and forth means I have not yet been able to figure out who was the guilty party until Marlowe revealed all.

The books have a wonderful period feel to them, and I like Chandlers prose. Marlowe uses a lot of weird expressions, but so far I've not had any trouble following any of them.

The High Window
By Raymond Chandler

There is something quaint about these old fashioned hard boiled detectives. They're hard drinking, chain smoking men, jaded by years of human depravity and not averse to using violence when it suits them, and yet they all seem to wear pyjamas and dressing gowns and smoke pipes to relax. It gives the books an unusual feeling of belonging to not just another time, but to a whole different perspective on life. For me, any one that bad, as 'bad to the bone' as these men are apparently meant to be, passing out drunk in your clothes would be the way to go to bed, and breakfast would be something greasy from a diner, chased down by black coffee. Obviously I am corrupted by too many years of cinema and television (as I don't drink alcohol).

I can't but help see Harrison Ford in 'Bladerunner' as being the ultimate Private Detective, because that was the first real experience I had of the genre. Its odd, but I came back in time from science fiction to reach the 1930's, and I brought a lot of baggage with me.

Reading these books has put me into a different frame of reference. Philip Marlowe is more like my Granddad than like Harrison Ford, and yet he is still as hard as nails, even if he does appear to be a little 'domesticated' every so often.

No comments: