Loving mysteries, I've read many times, 'this character reminds readers of Chandler's Philip Marlowe, known as the basis of the modern P. I.' Read many books which refer to Chandler or Marlowe, but up until now, never read him. Those days are past, thank goodness, because I've discovered an author I love.
Published in 1939, the book was as fresh to me as if it was published last week. Can't recall one time when I thought, hum, he wouldn't do that because of such and such. My favorite bookseller Vanessa said that is an indication of a good writer, one whose writing is timeless and I agree.
The story grabbed me from page one to the end with some convoluted twists and turns. I read the ending a couple of times after I finished since it was a time for reflection by Marlowe, a time to be a little philosophical. Marlowe really is thoughtful, moral and really tries to do what's right. And with the number of mysteries I've read, I can see threads of this character in other characters. Some have said that Chandler changed the genre of the modern P.I.
It's great to read a great book, one which other writers aspire to, Robert B. Parker, for one. Parker said Marlowe was "wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical and rebellious." I would never disagree with Robert B. Parker!
Thinking about how sparse and descriptive Chandler's writing is, I noted one line that I saved to go back to: "He wore a blue uniform coat that fitted him the way a stall fits a horse." That's visualization if I've ever read it.
Clear, clean, precise and to the point, Chandler must have read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. They were (and still are, I hope) the prophets of omitting needless words in writing. I would say there's not one needless word in this book. Well, maybe one, but no more!
Update on influence on Chandler on present day mystery writers, in this case Michael Connelly and from his Website:
"Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 21, 1956. He moved to Florida with his family when he was 12-years-old. Michael decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews."