Notice any difference between the first four chapters and the remaining 37 chapters of the book? It's well known that the first four were written by Raymond Chandler and the remaining 37, were written by author Robert B. Parker creator of the Spenser series which I've been reading for a few years. Chandler, for those of us who love hard-boiled, noir and the such, needs no introduction. And Parker is known to have loved Chandler's writing and his books.
But honestly, I didn't see that much of a difference. Perhaps if I had studied it more closely, I would have but I just read this book like any other Parker book (or Chandler, for that matter.)
The book opened with Marlowe being married to a rich heiress whose father (the benefactor) was still alive. But, of course, Marlowe being Marlowe, he's not changing a whit continuing his detective work even if it is in upscale Poodle Springs.
It's my belief that Chandler had something else in mind for Marlowe when he started the book. Perhaps his wife, Linda, was a cover, they really didn't marry. I don't know, just guessing. I just cannot for the life of me, see Marlowe married unless there is
a backstory...he was drugged, rip-roaring drunk in Vegas or something
I'm not a writer, needless to say, but I've read enough Marlowe to know he's "not the marrying kind." And he knows he's not the "marrying kind" much less marrying a woman who is worth $10 million.
But Parker does a fairly good job, in my mind, of finishing the novel.
By the way, glancing through some reviews before I started the book, I read where a college professor had students read the first four chapters for the express purpose of letting them know that even the more revered writers can have an "off" day or two.
I agree with her. Chandler's writing was trite and not at all the fine-tuned stringing of words and phrases that is considered his trademark. (While I didn't 'study' the writing style, this was quite easy to observe.)
Take these few lines: ...darting tongue, then it was a long sigh, and two people as close as two people can get.
Talking about their marriage, her being a multi-millionaire and Marlowe being a paycheck to paycheck gumshoe, "What are we to do, Phil?” “We (Marlowe says) have to ride it out. It's not always going to be easy. But I am not going to be Mr. Loring.” Linda (Loring Marlowe) says "I'll never change you, will I? (And Marlowe) “Do you really want to make a purring pussycat out of me?"
V-E-R-Y B-O-R I-N-G.
With that said, Parker didn't have a great beginning for finishing the novel and Chandler being Chandler, no one dared throw these typewritten papers into the desert wind of Poodle Springs (which was by the way, vaguely disguised as Palm Springs. Not dirty, gritty LA.)
Finishing a series is somewhat important to me unless the series ‘goes south, much too south’ for me, then I just quit.
That hasn't happened with Parker and I’m savoring the thought of reading the last couple of books written by Chandler. One, I think, has the prequel to the Linda Loring story, so maybe when I read that, Poodle Springs and their marriage will make more sense. I certainly hope so.
This book has been on my shelf for years and now I wish it would have remained there for another couple of years.