Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler

2 stars

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a dying millionaire to find out who's been blackmailing him, but it turns out that it's not just a simple case of extortion - there are two wild daughters and a missing son-in-law to deal with too. Soon bullets are flying, bodies are dropping, and dames are hissing like broken radiators and then getting slapped (and liking it too, apparently). Everyone is either evasive or outright lying and while Marlowe seems to have a firm grasp of what's going on, I must confess that I didn't entirely follow. The short, sharp dialogue (which I could hear Humphrey Bogart spitting through clenched teeth) often left me a little bewildered as to what on earth people were talking about - I'm glad that Marlowe summed it all up for us at the end or I'd likely still be lost now.

I did really enjoy some of Chandler's writing ("Bubbles rose in it like false hopes.") but I think that choosing to read a noir whilst under the influence of strong painkillers was probably a little bit too ambitious.


  1. I read that Chandler didn't even know if the man who drove off the pier was a suicide or a murder. I really liked this book.

    1. I can see why you like it - it's certainly got a lot going for it. I'd have probably enjoyed it a lot more if I'd read it at some other time.

      As for the murder/suicide - I was also a little confused there so I'm glad to hear that!