Booze, bullets, style.
More than you can imagine, and more besides.
Topped off with regular head-coshing, confusion, convolution, and everything that made Raymond Chandler’s output the epitome of harboiled. Treat yourself, if not treating others.
The Big Sleep
Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood’s two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA’s seedy backstreets, Marlowe’s got his work cut out – and that’s before he stumbles over the first corpse . . .
Farewell, My Lovely
‘I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room’
Cynical Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe always falls for a sob story. Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married – until Malloy was framed for armed robbery. Now he’s out and he wants Velma back. Marlowe meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe’s search for Velma turns up plenty of gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later. And soon what started as a search for a missing person becomes a matter of life and death . . .
The High Window
‘He lay crumpled on his back. Very lonely, very dead. The safe door was wide open. A metal drawer was pulled out. It was empty now. There may have been money in it once.’
Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe’s on a case: his client, a dried-up husk of a woman, wants him to recover a rare gold coin called a Brasher Doubloon, missing from her late husband’s collection. That’s the simple part. It becomes more complicated when Marlowe finds that everyone who handles the coin suffers a run of very bad luck: they always end up dead. That’s also unlucky for a private investigator, because leaving a trail of corpses around LA puts cops’ noses seriously out of joint. If Marlowe doesn’t wrap this one up fast, he’s going to end up either in jail or in a wooden box in the ground . . .
The Lady in the Lake
Derace Kingsley’s wife ran away to Mexico to get a quickie divorce and marry a Casanova-wannabe named Chris Lavery. Or so the note she left her husband insisted. Trouble is, when Philip Marlowe asks Lavery about it he denies everything and sends the private investigator packing with a flea lodged firmly in his ear. But when Marlowe next encounters Lavery, he’s denying nothing – on account of the two bullet holes in his heart.
Now Marlowe’s on the trail of a killer, who leads him out of smoggy LA all the way to a murky mountain lake …
The Little Sister
‘So you need help. What’s your name and trouble?’
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe’s latest client is Orfamay Quest. She’s come all the way from Manhattan, Kansas, to find her missing brother Orrin. Or at least that’s what she tells Marlowe, offering him just twenty dollars for his trouble. Feeling charitable, Marlowe accepts – though it’s not long before he wishes he hadn’t. Soon the trail leads to a succession of Hollywood starlets, uppity gangsters, suspicious cops and corpses with ice picks jammed into their necks . . .
The Long Goodbye
‘A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness. It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. I didn’t have one. I didn’t care’
Down-and-out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem: his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast. So he turns to his only friend in the world: private investigator Philip Marlowe. He is willing to help a man down on his luck, but later Lennox commits suicide in Mexico and things start to turn nasty. Marlowe is drawn into a sordid crowd of adulterers and alcoholics in LA’s Idle Valley, where the rich are suffering one big suntanned hangover. Marlowe is sure Lennox didn’t kill his wife, but how many more stiffs will turn up before he gets to the truth?
Stalking the tawdry neon wilderness of forties and fifties Los Angeles, Raymond Chandler’s hard-drinking, wise-cracking Phillip Marlowe is one of the world’s most famous fictional detectives.
‘Playback’ finds Marlowe mixing business with pleasure – getting paid to follow a mysterious and lovely red-head named Eleanor King. And wherever Miss King goes, trouble seems to follow. But she’s easy on the eye and Marlowe’s happy to do as he’s told, all in the name of chivalry, of course. But one dead body later and what started out as a lazy afternoon’s snooping soon becomes a deadly cocktail of blackmail, lies, mistaken identity – and murder . . .’
Trouble is My Business
In the first of the four cases in Trouble is My Business, LA PI Philip Marlowe is offered a job that leaves a bad taste in the mouth: smearing a girl who’s ‘got her hooks into a rich man’s pup’. Before too long Marlowe’s up to his neck in corpses and cops and he’s taken pity on the girl. There’s nothing like making trouble of your business . . .
The four novellas collected here are quintessential Raymond Chandler: slick, crystal-clear writing that pins the reader to the seat and won’t let go until the last page is turned.
Killer in the Rain
‘Killer in the Rain’ collects together eight classic short stories by Raymond Chandler.
It was in the pulp detective magazines of the 1930s that Raymond Chandler’s definitive take on the hard-boiled detective story first appeared. Here then, from the well-thumbed pages of ‘Black Mask’ and ‘Dime Detective Magazine’, are eight of his finest stories including ‘The Man Who Liked Dogs’, ‘The Lady in the Lake’ and ‘Bay City Blues’.
Sharper than a hoodlum’s switchblade, more exciting than an unexpected red-head and stronger than a double shot of whisky, they are packed full of the punchy poetry and laconic wit that makes Chandler the undisputed master of his genre.