The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep
Raymond Chandler

“It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.”

On a rainy October morning, Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlowe is on his way to see General Sternwood. General needs help in dealing with Arthur Gwynn Geiger, dealer in rare books who is trying to blackmail him with some gambling notes signed by General’s younger daughter Carmen. It almost seems too easy and Marlowe takes the job. On his way out he is summoned by General’s older daughter Vivian who is wondering if her father hired Marlowe to find her missing husband Rusty Regan.
Marlowe is soon facing blackmail, pornography and dead bodies. There is far more to this case then meets the eye.

The Big Sleep is the first Raymond Chandler novel featuring LA detective Philip Marlowe. It was first published in 1939 and it has been adapted into film twice.
This is the first Philip Marlowe mystery I read and I must say it is a total breath of fresh air. Marlowe is wonderfully witty, mysterious and dry. He has a level of cynicism that I find very captivating. It perfectly reflects historic background, 1930’s depression years.
Other characters are also very complex. Everybody seems to be involved in some criminal activity whether they want to or not. It was not easy to survive in those days.

The weather plays a mayor role in The Big Sleep. Every scene is prepared by a description of the weather. It adds to the dark atmosphere that shrouds the whole story.  
Raymond Chandler created one of the legendary characters. Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe seem to be quintessential detective figures. They are all a private eye should be. And they are certainly an inspiration for many detectives that came after them.

The Big Sleep is one of the finest detective stories I have ever read.

“It was close to eleven when I put my car away and walked around to the front of the Hobart Arms. The plate-glass door was put on the lock at ten, so I had to get my keys out. Inside, in the square barren lobby, a man put a green evening paper down beside a potted palm and flicked a cigarette butt into the tub the palm grew in. He stood up and waved his hat at me and said: "The boss wants to talk to you. You sure keep your friends waiting, pal."


Hello Stasha, thanks so much for visiting and following my blog. I've just followed back. I'm rather ashamed to admit I've read nothing by Raymond Chandler but this does sound too good to miss. Barbara


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