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The High Window

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  9,515 ratings  ·  383 reviews
A wealthy Pasadena widow with a mean streak, a missing daughter-in-law with a past, and a gold coin worth a small fortune—the elements don't quite add up until Marlowe discovers evidence of murder, rape, blackmail, and the worst kind of human exploitation.

"Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude."-- Erle Stanley Gardner

"Raymond Chandler has given us a detective w
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published 1942)
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Glenn Russell

Like all of Raymond Chandler’s novels, The High Window features private detective Philip Marlowe as first-person narrator reporting events unfolding as he attempts to crack a case in sun-soaked Los Angeles. I marvel at his perceptiveness and cleverness. Can anybody surpass Marlowe in his ability to see all the angles, to size people up, to catch all the clues, to ask the right questions, to crack wise at those times cracking wise is the wisest, to put the puzzle together so all the pieces fit in
Whenever I review one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels I feel like I should be doing it with a half-bottle of rye on the desk next to the cigarette burning in an ashtray with my fedora pushed back on my head. But I quit smoking years ago, and I don’t bounce back from hangovers quite the way I used to so I try not to chug whiskey from the bottle these days unless it‘s a dire emergency. Maybe I can still get the hat….

Marlowe gets hired by a ball-busting old bag who thinks that that the
Dan Schwent
Philip Marlowe is hired to find the Brasher doubloon, a valuable gold coin stolen from its owner. Marlowe trails the owner's daughter in law, thinking she stole the coin. Marlowe's path leads him into a web of murder and blackmail. Will Marlowe be able to find who stole the doubloon without winding up on the pile of corpses left in its wake?

As I continuously mention, noir fiction of this type agrees with me like a bottle of Mad Dog does a homeless man. The High Window, Raymond Chandler's third P
A wealthy widow asked Philip Marlowe to investigate a disappearance of a rare coin from her late husband collection; this disappearance coincidentally happened at the same time as that of her daughter-in-law. There was no love lost between the two, so Marlowe's client hopes the PI will be able to dig up enough dirt on her son's wife to get a solid ground for a divorce. This seems to be a simple case and Marlowe was able to find the location of both lost coin and escaped person fairly soon, but h ...more
Ben Winch
For those of you who haven’t yet read Chandler – and I won’t question why – I’m here to tell you, the man can write. You read him for the words, for the atmosphere, not for plot. The High Window itself has nothing special to recommend it; it’s another instalment, one of many roughly equally as good. (First time around The Lady in the Lake was my favourite; my wife, who read them all this year, liked The Long Goodbye.) But it’s the one I re-read last week (cos it’s tight, short, cuts to the punch ...more
James Thane
The High Window is another excellent novel featuring Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled L.A. detective, Philip Marlowe, although to my mind it's not quite on a par with Chandler's masterpieces, The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.

The case opens when a wealthy, twice-widowed Pasadena woman named Elizabeth Bright Murdock hires Marlowe to discreetly recover a valuable coin that has been stolen from her first's husband's collection. The client insists that her daughter-in-law, whom she hates, has taken t
"The wind was quiet out here and the valley moonlight was so sharp that the black shadows looked as if they had been cut with an engraving tool."

Marlowe is tasked with tracking down and acquiring a stolen rare coin dubbed the Brasher Doubloon. Its owner, Mrs. Murdock, believes that her recently estranged daughter-in-law is the culprit. Unfortunately for Marlowe, there’s rarely ever an open and shut case and it isn’t long before he’s tied up in a web of deceit and murder.

I’m beginning to feel lik
One thing I can’t stand about Goodreads reviews is the compulsion that so many reviewers have of giving a detailed summary of the plot. Is there anything more dull than reading a poorly written plot summary of a book you’ve already read or want to read? So, I’m not going to discuss the plot here, other than to point out that the plot is wholly irrelevant (which is stating the obvious, to Chandler-afficiandos). Chandler’s plots are always convoluted MacGuffins used as a backdrop for Marlowe to ex ...more
Bill  Kerwin

In this worthy companion to "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell My Lovely," Marlowe tracks a rare colonial coin called "The Brasher Doubloon."

This novel features a handful of well-drawn stock characters: an iron dowager and her entourage (consisting of an effete son and a mousy secretary), a B-movie actor turned big-time gambler who is protected by a six-foot-five henchman (both with scars), round-heeled ex-showgirl Lois Magic, gin-joint contralto Linda Conquest--and a good no-nonsense middle-aged co
Chandler's a real pro. This feels like it tripped off the pen, like his kick from writing it is no less than ours from reading it. His great sense of timing isn't going to work out of context, so you are going to have to take my word for it.

Still...just this, in the middle of describing a character's face.

He had a long nose that would be into things.

I've read this sentence a hundred times now. Savoured it. Fantastic. The guy is sharp as when it comes to building pictures of people, of settings
Nancy Oakes
At book three in this series it's getting harder to come up with new things to say about Chandler's Marlowe novels. Yes, I could offer up some of Chandler's clever similes or metaphors which change with each book, but I'm not going to do that. These novels are, in a word, excellent. Whether you read them for the writing, the often-cumbersome plots or the unforgettable characters, especially that of Philip Marlowe, considering that they were written around 70 years ago, the high quality of these ...more
Had an overwhelming craving for a dose of Chandler's sordid urban poetry and opted for this, one of his novels that I've read only once. Promptly proceeded to devour it within the course of 36 hours. Usually not considered one of the highlights of Chandler's compact oeuvre, about halfway through it struck me how difficult it is to distinguish between "great" Chandler and the "merely good," as this is really terrific stuff.

But after finishing it became clear again why this isn't one of Chandler's
Roderick Vincent
(4.5) For hard-boiled detective fiction, this is the best I've read. Chandler is clever, full of wit, and truly a fantastic story teller.

Chandler sends us on a journey with PI detective Marlowe. Right away the character is put into action. He takes a job from the dubious, drunk Mrs. Murdock to discreetly track down a rare, stolen, coin and soon is tailed by her son Leslie and another PI Phillips who winds up getting killed. Accused by the police of Phillips' death, he must uncover the truth.

“The Night Was All Around, Soft and Quiet. The White Moonlight Was Cold and Clear, Like the Justice We Dream of but Don’t Find.” (Chp.32)

I don’t know about you, but I just love Raymond Chandler’s feisty private eye Philip Marlowe for sentences like the one above. And, of course, for sentences like these:

”From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away.”

Can they really have been said by the same person? I
I loved this book. I was expecting a story about a hard-boiled detective. I expected it to be little dated in some of its attitudes, given the time it was written. I was correct in both those.

What I was not expecting was humour. Which, judging from the other reviewers' frequent mention of the wit that is Chandler, only proves that I've been living under a rock most of my life, but truly, I was surprised, and delighted to be!

"A check-girl ... came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes.
It has been many years since I read any of Raymond Chandler's Marlowe novels, but seeing The Brasher Doubloon (1947) over the weekend made me want to re-read the novel on which it was based. It was good to see Marlowe again, working for another high suspect and dysfunctional rich family (as in The Big Sleep). There is a family secretary named Merle Davis, who is afraid of being touched and who believes that, years before, she had murdered her employer's husband.

There are also the usual collecti
The bar entrance was to the left. It was dusky and quiet and a bartender moved mothlike against the faint glitter of piled glassware. A tall handsome blond in a dress that looked like seawater sifted over with gold dust came out of the ladies room, touching up her lips and turned toward the arch, humming.
The sound of rhumba music came through the archway and she nodded her gold head in time to it, smiling. A short fat man with a red face and glittering eyes waited for her with a white wrap over
Patrick O'Neil
I was talking with a friend about detective noir mysteries of the 40's and how then it was a genre that was taking a chance, dealing with dark/tough subject matter and social issues, and that's why I find it appealing. It was somewhat like the beat generation writers were to the 60's, or what dope fiend memoirs are today. She agreed and said it was a venue that allowed the reader into a dark subculture that was intriguing, dangerous, and for the most part unattainable – and then she went one fur ...more
Chandler believed, first, that he "chose" to be a writer as some people "choose" to be a waiter or a janitor, second, that he "became" a writer by studying "Black Mask" and the other pulps and simply imitating them (more on that below), and third, that the results were not make-work as they should have been, but serious literature, on a par with Hammett if not one better.

Chandler spent a boozy couple of years tearing the stories in the pulps (which he always maintained a healthy disdain for in
Had to laugh when I found reviews saying nobody ever reads Chandler for his plot. It's probably true, at least once you know what you're getting into. There are parts of the books where I have no idea what's going on but I'm still hanging on because the way he writes is so amazing. I think I say this in every review of his books, though. This one had some awesome phrases in it -- the description of Marlowe as a "shop-soiled Galahad" particularly struck me, and "women who should be young but have ...more
Raymond Chandler’s The High Window sees Philip Marlowe investigating the theft of a rare early American gold coin, the Brasher Doubloon. The case turns out also to involve blackmail and three murders. This is vintage Chandler. The plot is delightfully Byzantine. Marlowe, as usual, finds himself trying to resolve the case in such a manner that at least some vague semblance of justice is done. Which isn’t easy, since just about everybody has something nasty that they’re trying to hide. Chandler is ...more
Michelle Prendergast
How can I not love a detective novel that includes allusions to Wuthering Heights and the Diary of Pepys? The reference to Marlowe as a Galahad figure is especially apt in this installment of the Marlowe novels; the ethical code Marlowe follows is explicitly stated and (it seems to me) more central to his internal conflict than in the other novels. While Chandler's noir focuses on the underbelly of American life, the level of individual corruption (the psychological exploitation of Merle Davis) ...more
Mini Review

Philip Marlowe is fast becoming my favorite detective of all time. It is unusual for a character to be so interesting and simultaneously the writing to be so vivid and entertaining that the author can describe him staring at a wall and still make it a worthwhile read; but Chandler's Marlowe fits such a bill. He is an idealist but not naive, witty without being juvenile, he is a cynic but his worldview is not so gloomy or bleak that it alienates any particular section of readers.

Noir t

Having read a lot of Raymond Chandler through the years and now, finally going back and re-reading everything with a more widened perspective on the genre, The High Window easily stands out as his finest work.

The High Window, unlike a lot of genre Private Detective stories, which so many other authors have spent lifetimes struggling to copy and coming up short, keeps you guessing until the very end. Some authors give you a nibble about half way through a story and it falls apart in your lap and
Chandler doesn't add a lot of new merchandise to his stock, but what he carries should satisfy even the most discriminating reader of pulp crime fiction. The High Window (1942) is the third Philip Marlowe book, and it's complicated plot is laced with all the sorts of characters we've come to expect in the noir novel: nasty old rich people with some ugly secrets tucked into their past, suave night club owners ready to do business above or below board, smokey-throated showgirls on the run, silk-sh ...more
J.G. Keely
I once read in a mystery readers' newsletter that one invariably favors either Chandler or Hammett, and that the minute difference in character between the two preferences is an unbridgeable gap. I started with Hammett, and expected much more than I got. It was brusque and brooding, but its brusqueness lacked refinement: it was not laconic but merely truncated.

The brooding lacked the sardonic wryness which I had come to associate with crime fiction, and which I now find to be the flourished sign
Chris Gager
Started last night after "Youth". It JUST occurred to me that I went from one narrator named Marlow to another named Marlowe! Anyway, so far so good. This is classic Chandler and classic L.A. private-eye fiction. Lots of snappy dialogue as Marlowe is the king of the wise guys. He likes to provoke people. All the characters have been assembled(I think) but no bodies have hit the deck yet. Soon, I'm sure!

Not much progress due to work commitments but I should get it finished tonight. I've lowered m
From my insty:

'The wind had risen and had a taut, dry feeling, tossing the tops of trees, and making the swung arc-light up the side street cast shadows like crawling lava.'

So I've finished my first Raymond Chandler novel, and it was a lot of fun. The gender and racial stereotypes and occasional condescension were jarring but felt very much like a product of the book's era -- something which would've gone unnoticed at the time yet seems glaringly obvious nowadays. I loved all the sarcasm, the li
S. Naomi Scott
This is the third of Chandler's novels featuring hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe, and the first that I hadn't previously read as a kid. As a result I was coming to this book with an almost entirely fresh perspective. Nor was I disappointed.

The High Window comes across as a much less convoluted story than the first two books, and we get a glimpse at Marlowe's sympathetic side when he takes an interest in the novel's damsel in distress. That said, we still get to see plenty of sass from the wi
Raymond Chandler's prose style is up there with the greats. It's still hugely influential, incredibly important. None of his books fail to impress on those grounds. It is, of course, real hard to try to write like Raymond Chandler writes and pull it off. There are probably as many woeful Chandler copycats out there as there are woeful Hemingway copycats.

The High Window isn't my favourite of the Marlowe books. That's mostly down to the plot, which is just okay, and doesn't really let Marlowe reac
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Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.

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
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“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.” 301 likes
“She had eyes like strange sins.” 24 likes
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