Sunday, March 14, 2010


By Raymond Chandler

A bitter sweet, and all too short read, this is just about the last Philip Marlow novel by Raymond Chandler, save for the unfinished 'Poodle Springs', which I'm not sure I want to read as I hate uncompleted novels knowing the author died before they could be finished. Is there anything in art as sad as a good novel, half written but destined to never be finished? Sometimes some other author will step in and try to finish the novel, but even if they do a good job, the end result is the same as in cinema, as when Spielberg tried to salvage Kubrick's last film and now I'll never know if Kubrick had lost it, or if Spielberg just didn't have a clue what Kubrick was trying to say.

What ever the circumstances, it was a pleasure to read Chandler again, and in following Mosley, Chandler cemented his place at the summit of the moif pantheon of great noir fiction authors. This book wasn't better than 'A Red Death', it was altogether too short and too slow for that, but it served to remind me of Philip Marlow and the way Chandler wrote, and that was nice. Really nice. To listen to Marlow's voice is to doze in the warm Californian sun and forget the snow and biting wind of Jutland.

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