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Old 01-04-2016, 08:38 PM View Post #1 (Link) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
ScottyMcGee (Offline)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: New Jersey
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Genre: Mystery/Crime

It's been a long time since I read a hard-broiled detective story. I was in high school when I read the Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I really should go back to Hammett some day.

I had The Big Sleep on my shelf for a while and finally read it sometime late last year.

Synopsis: The first book of Chandler's Philip Marlow stories. Philip Marlow is a private investigator who gets called in by a rich old man, General Sternwood. He asks Marlow to investigate a blackmail letter sent to his daughter by a bookseller. From there on the plot gets much more complex, as pornography is involved and a whole lot of double-crossing.

Story/Plot: I lost the plot halfway through. It's appropriate though because after I read this, I researched the making of this book and Chandler actually combined two of his short stories into The Big Sleep. It DID feel like I was reading two different stories as I reached the end. Chandler admitted he was much less concerned with story and plot and more focused on the characters and the setting. It's really obvious. Chandler wrote wonderful descriptive scenes. Philip Marlow is a highly entertaining wisecracking protagonist to follow. The entire story is written in his perspective. Everyone else, even the side characters, are fleshed out. It's hard to recall how everything played out because, like I said, it gets REALLY complex. When they made the first movie, the director asked Chandler who killed one of the side characters, since it wasn't exactly explained in the book. Chandler responded with something along the lines of "I don't know either."

Verdict: If you as a writer went through life only reading few detective stories, this is one that you must include. This and The Maltese Falcon. There's a lot of wonderful "showing" here with the characters. I definitely will reread this in the future - and not to understand the plot better, ironically enough, but to enjoy the experience again. So don't read it thinking you'll fish out a comprehensive detective plot - read it for the characters.
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						Last edited by ScottyMcGee; 01-04-2016 at 08:41 PM.
					
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