The Simple Art of Murder
Four short stories of varying quality and an interesting, if grouchy, essay on the state of crime fiction in the 1930s.
The titular essay is a very interesting read, Chandler discusses the popular British (and British styled) crime writers of the day and their fai...more
Chandler is not only the best writer of hardboiled PI stories, he's one of the 20th century's top scribes, period. His full canon of novels and short stories is reprinted in trade paper featuring uniform covers in Black Lizard's signature style. A handsome set for a reasonable price.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Raymond Chandler is a master." --_The New York Times_
?[Chandler] wrote as if pain hurt and life mattered.? --The New Yorker
I've always been a fan of Chandler's "Phillip Marlowe" and of Dashiell Hammet's "Thin Man." I grew up reading these novels that were in my great grandfather's bookcase. He was an educator and high school principal/superinten...more
If you are at all familiar with 1930's hard-boiled crime fiction, then you are acquainted with Raymond Chandler’s work already. If you are like me then you are not - at least not really.
This, “The Simple Art Of Murder”, is my first attempt at reading Raymond Chandler and I feel a mixed bag of emotions about it. It is an essay her wrote as well as short pieces of fiction. On the one side I was pretty entertained, and on another I felt like half the time the...more
Actually it is. But someone had to say that. The title was just begging for it.
I enjoyed the essay, which was Chandler's take on the detective formula and the current (in his time) glut of detective fiction, mostly because I agreed with him about Agatha Christie's books. They're entertaining, no doubt, but as logic puzzles, they fail. They cheat; Agatha's Poirot and his "little grey cells"...more
If you like any of his work whether in film or written form, then pick this up and get your little heart going pit-a-pat. Am I exaggerating? Perhaps a little, but the man was a master of detective fiction, a craftsman who created characters and plots that are so good, so iconic, and s...more
At one o'clock in the morning, Carl, the night porter, turned down the last of three table lamps in the main lobby of the Windermere Hotel. The blue carpet darkened a shade or two and the walls drew back into remoteness. The chairs filled with shadowy loungers. In the corners were memories like cobwebs.
Tony Reseck yawned. He put his head on one side and listened to the frail, twittery music from the radio room beyond a dim arch at the far s...more
This is followed by four long short stories. And here's the thing, they don't all have the same main character and they aren't all in the first person. We all love Phil, but it's nice to see Chandler using other characters. Most interesting in the collection is t...more
These are detective short stories that were originally published separately in magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. There is also one essay written by the author, with the same title as the book.
I should know by now not to pick short stories, unless I'm more certain I'll be interested in the topic. I think I've discovered why I'm not a big short story fan, though – or one reason why, anyway. If I lose interest and my mind wanders at any point, I miss too much of the story. I thought the e...more
a few stories are stand outs (Nevada Gas, Pearls Are a Nuisance,Spanish Blood,The King in Yellow,Guns at Cyrano's) a few characters don't work. Chandler is Philip Marlowe, speaking in another voice just isn't the same believability, its as if these detectives are sketches of who is to be. Th...more
Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder" ought to be called, "why my mystery stories are better than everyone else's, especially those with the audacity to outsell me." It...more
On the other hand, I didn't feel blown away by the prose, in this one. Maybe it's that the short stories aren't Chandler's form, maybe it's just that I'm bundled up in the cognitive cotton wool of a cold and the cough suppressants. There's just something same-y about them, and the freshness and sharpness of the prose from, say, The Big Sleep, doesn't seem quite as much in evidence.
The title derives from an essay on detective wri...more
It's a collection of short stories. For me, all the men were Humphrey Bogart and all the women were Lauren Bacall. This was a great book.
In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In...more
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The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things.
He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.
The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in. ”