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The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe #4)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,386 Ratings  ·  601 Reviews
When Philip Marlowe sets out to find the missing wife of Derace Kingsley he knows its no ordinary case. But he doesn't realise it would turn him from a hardworking private eye into a murderer.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Hamish Hamilton (first published January 1st 1943)
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Paul Bryant
Raindrops on strippers and crisp apple gunshots
Bright copper floozies and warm woolly whatnots,
Muscular gentlemen tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in bikinis with breathtaking lipstick
Slayed belles on gurneys as fast talking dicks quip
Silverwhite cocaine and fabulous bling
These are a few of my favourite thing

Finding those corpses with wide ugly gashes
And no nose at all and not many eyelashes
And Chandler and Marlowe and slightly left wings
These are a few of my favou
Dan Schwent
A rich man hires Phillip Marlowe to find his wife. The trail leads to a resort town and another dead woman. Where is Crystal Kingsley? And who killed Muriel Chess? And what did Chris Lavery or Dr. Almore have to do with it?

The Lady in the Lake is a tale of lies, double crosses, cheating woman, murder, and a shop-soiled Galahad named Phillip Marlowe caught in the middle of it. Chander and Marlowe set the standards for slick-talking detectives for generations to come and Marlowe is in fine form in
Jul 08, 2014 Evgeny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rich man asked Philip Marlowe to find his missing wife who presumably ran away to Mexico to get a divorce, but disappeared since then. The search quickly led the private detective to a dead body of another woman with seemingly no connection to the first one, except for them being neighbors. The number of dead bodies rapidly increases as Marlowe tries to get to the bottom of a very complicated mystery while dodging cold-blooded killers, corrupted cops (the level of corruption in Bay City seems ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Brandon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, noir, ebook, 2014
"Police business," he said almost gently, "is a hell of a problem. It's a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men . So we have to work with what we get— and we get things like this."

A man’s wife is missing and Philip Marlowe is hired to find her. When his search leads him to the discovery of a different dead woman, the self-proclaimed "Murder-A-Day Marlowe" has questions and by God, people are going to answer them
Jun 12, 2015 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I should probably slow down on calling Raymond Chander a god. Novelists who write so damn well (and there are few of those) must sometimes tire of both hyperbole and the undersell too. Look. This isn't my favorite Chandler or my favorite Marlowe, and the Great and Glorious Chandler doesn't deviate too far from his script (Rich, difficult clients >> wise-cracking PI >> dame >> cops >> drinks >> California >> dead bodies >> Marlowe close to the line >&g ...more
David Gustafson
Jul 21, 2015 David Gustafson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have decided to take a break from my usual obsession with history to take a deep plunge into several of the classic noir detective novels by Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett. A few of these will be re-reads.
Why noir? America is even divided between two fanatical ideologies so I guess the noir genre suits my cynical nature as an outcast, literary hermit who despises the hypocritical dishonesty and corruption of both political franchises as well as the obedient myrmidons i
Jul 03, 2012 Tfitoby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Marlowe but not as I remember him.

I generally love Chandler's style and specifically love Marlowe as a wise-cracking hard-boiled PI but for me there was something not up to speed with this book.

Aside from the fact that I knew exactly how the narrative would play out thanks to the mighty obvious use of the genre staple of portraits and doubles meaning every incident in between felt like a lazy attempt at placing red herrings there was so little in the way of great dialogue and internal monologue
Jan 27, 2015 Mish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Michael
I came to reading this book because I needed something to read for my Literary Exploration challenge, Hardboiled genre. Never having read this type of genre before, I had refer to my bookish friend, Michael Kitto, for help. He recommended The Lady in the Lake as an introduction too the well known and respected Private Investigator, Philip Marlowe, and to this genre. I can see from several reviews that this was a very popular choice for first timers like me.

In this book Marlowe was employed by a
Dec 30, 2013 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: Michael
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe was hired by Derace Kingsley to find his missing wife, Crystal – she had been missing for a month after contacting him from their cabin via telegram to say she was going to divorce him and marry Chris Lavery. Kingsley was concerned enough to want her found – Marlowe started his investigation not realizing how deeply he would become involved, how many webs would wind their way throughout quite a number of lives.

With a little help from a country sheriff by the n
Maria João Fernandes
Jun 04, 2013 Maria João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites
"Chandler escreve como se a dor doesse e a vida importasse."

A "Dama do Lago" conta-nos mais uma história com Philip Marlowe. Tudo começa quando o detetive privado é contratado para encontrar uma pessoa desaparecida. Contudo, o que começa por parecer um caso como muitos outros, revela-se numa série de crimes relacionados entre si.

Os crimes descritos neste livro são cometidos pelo mesmo tipo de pessoas que os comentem na vida real. O enredo é surrealmente real: os criminosos usam armas. A verdade
Apr 30, 2014 Steffan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book now three times in as many months. More times in as many years. The first time I read it, years ago, I was nineteen. Much older now, I had to come back with a different perspective and try to see what Raymond Chandler was really up to. Entertaining the reader wasn't the point. Sending Marlowe into another violent beat down, like some of the other books, wasn't the point. Chasing down the mystery man, or woman, wasn't the point either.

I can say this. Raymond Chandler, for thos
Dec 14, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Crime Writers' Association's Top 100 Crime Novels
The Lady in the Lake is the tale of Private Detective Marlowe, who is hired to find a missing woman by her husband. Marlowe finds a woman dead in the lake of this couples cabin getaway, but it isn’t the same woman, it is the wife of the caretaker. With all his great detective skills, humor and wit; Marlowe attempts to uncover this mystery, with some interesting results.

I do have to admit, I’ve got a special place in my heart for all things written by Raymond Chandler; especially the Philip Marl
Nov 27, 2007 Timothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like film noir or mysteries
I'd never read Raymond Chandler. I always heard his name in comparison to Murakami, so I've been interested in reading one of his books for as long as I've been a Murakami fan.

This was so much fun to read mostly because Chandler's detective is witty and smart. He notices the small things and describes things in ways most people would never think of. Read the first chapter and decide for yourself. This book has a good, if not confusing, murder-mystery, but Chandler keeps it moving with the right
Nov 12, 2013 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Good, solid Chandler. Maturity of craft, but not quite as taut as High Window, and a large piece of the puzzle was obvious almost from the outset. Still, excellent book. The characterization is particularly rich and well done.
Nancy Oakes

Cutting right to the chase, the fourth novel in Chandler's Marlowe series begins with a missing wife. Degrace Kingsley, a businessman in the perfume business, hires Marlowe to find his wife Crystal. Although they'd been "washed up for years," Kingsley needs Marlowe to find her to make sure she hasn't done anything scandalous to reflect back on him. The last time he knew Crystal's actual whereabouts was a month earlier, when she was staying at their cabin up at at Little Fawn Lake at Puma Point.
Apr 23, 2011 meeners rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
the reason why i like the hardboiled mystery genre so much (despite the rampant misogyny, class biases, race biases, etc.) is that it is a genre wholly defined by and understood through style. the hardboiled world is above all a deliberately fictional one, a world found only on the page, and as such its appeal is not necessarily in the facts of the case or the personality of the detective but in the narration of these things.

i think chandler's at his best when the narrative point of reference is
Aug 15, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raymond Chandler is not only one of the finest writers in the English language but he's the gold standard for detective fiction. This novel is certainly no exception delivering a twisty and constantly surprising plot, deftly drawn and endlessly fascinating characters and, of course, perfect pacing and suspense. It's even the perfect length. Chandler manages to be sincere and sarcastic at the same time, can deliver irony in plain and simple fact and does dialogue (spoken and unspoken) like nobody ...more
Joel Lacivita
Jan 05, 2015 Joel Lacivita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic Chandler novel! Not necessarily for the way he lines up all of the clues but for his incredible prose and his cynical insight into the world.

A woman is found in a lake in a forest, resort area outside of Los Angeles and Marlow goes into action. One has to read all the names, places, items,and descriptions carefully to keep track of the action, maybe even take notes, but it all makes sense in the end. Or maybe it does, but it doesn't matter, the writing is superb and one of a k
Jan 20, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved
Marlowe in the mountains. Sigh.

Cool, smooth, and impossible to put down. Knocked it back in a mere 24 hours.
Jason Coleman
Jul 13, 2012 Jason Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when I read Chandler I wish he could have found a way to break out of the formula and really let his imagination loose—just let all the poetry and over-too-soon bit parts fill the page. He seems more interested in everything else than the so-called plot. On the other hand, maybe he hit it just right. The weirdness that is so compelling on the periphery of his writing might fall apart under the harsh light of center stage.

Chandler's passing-glance encounters always have the quality of r
Jul 24, 2012 Franky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What appears to be a case of finding the whereabouts of a missing wife turns out to be much more, as is typical of Chandler to make things a bit more complicated once the first mystery is presented to us. Marlowe is summoned and hired by Derace Kingsley to find his wife, Crystal Kingsley. Crystal has apparently slipped town with another man and Kingsley, worried about public scandal, puts a price on finding her. Marlowe heads to Little Fawn Lake, a small resort away from the city, to find some c ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 1940s
Thanks to this book I woke up this morning with my eyelids feeling like two well licked stamps. I was trying to keep myself to five chapters a day, but last night I bolted the thing in a wee-hour biblio-binge. My head's throbbing now, but it was worth it. The Lady in the Lake (1943) is just about as good as Chandler gets, almost as good as The Big Sleep, but for different reasons. Chandler's first Marlowe novel is all about style and character; the plot weaves all over the road, making it unlike ...more
Jan 17, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
This might've been my favourite so far, and that might be because I managed to figure it out before Chandler got there. I like feeling smart, and after he lost me plenty of times in the other books, I got pleased with myself for following this one just fine. The plotting was tighter, or at least, more comprehensible, and it didn't seem to inexplicably wander quite so much.

As always, though, in my opinion the writing was the stronger part -- and the characterisation, of course: mostly that of Mar
Yuki Shimmyo
Lost a decent night's sleep! My early guess about the woman pulled from the lake was correct, but there were plenty more twists and turns and surprises to be played out, and from about halfway in I could not put the book down. Towards the end I was reminded of the policemen "Bud" White and Exley from the 1997 film "L.A. Confidential" (which I enjoyed very much). I haven't read James Ellroy's novel yet, but it's amazing to see what a direct influence Chandler still has on current noir fiction.

Joseph Duncan
Sep 09, 2012 Joseph Duncan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the plot seemed overly intricate at times, I enjoyed the mystery, the settings and the characters. Raymond Chandler has a prose style that somehow manages to be very concise and very descriptive at the same time. His character, Philip Marlowe, is an endearingly crusty and deceptively brilliant private detective. I enjoyed the subtle, and not so subtle, ways in which Marlowe solved the mystery and steered the guilty parties toward a fitting punishment, and I very much enjoyed the witty b ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Michael
Another great detective novel from Raymond Chandler. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Marlowe is the epitome of the hard-boiled detective. The story was great with an ending I didn't see coming. I had the final killer figured but couldn't guess the reason. A superb twist. Can't wait to read more of Chandler's books.
Mar 05, 2014 Troy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I've been reading Chandler and watching Game of Thrones. I need both. Both are about duplicity, survival, and maneuvering through power; maneuvering both through the small power of the violent individual, and the extended and deadly control of the powerful. Chandler's stories have a roughly moral center in Philip Marlowe. He's not much of a moral center, but he's close enough in a world of masks, in a world of moral uncertainty, in a world were bad timing can end in death. He rejects power.

Jan 05, 2009 C.E. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who appreciates really well-crafted sentences
It's funny how, when the truly great American writers are mentioned, Chandler's name doesn't immediately come to mind. That's probably because he plied his trade in genre fiction, instead of something more instantly respectable. Still, you'd be hard pressed to find another writer as gifted in the art of crafting immaculately written sentences in clean crisp electric prose that leaps off the page, in a low-key sort of way.

This relatively short (266 pages) work scores highly because its plot isn'
Slightly second rate Chandler saved from mediocrity by Chandler's usual flowing prose. The plot suffers from being both overcomplex and slightly predictable, which made this a bit of a tedious read for me. There's still plenty that Chandler fans, and hardboiled fans in general, can appreciate, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend this one unless you're craving more Marlowe and have already covered the best stuff.
Apr 21, 2014 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, there are two kinds of detective story, both of which can be enjoyable. There are those that are essentially puzzles, like crosswords, and those that include characters you might care about, a strong sense of place, and an atmosphere of mystery that does not completely dissipate when you know who the killer is.

Chandler's books are, of course, in the latter category: but I felt this one had slightly more of the puzzle about it and slightly less conviction and urgency than The Big Sleep.

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  • The Continental Op
  • Black Money
  • The Bride Wore Black
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
More about Raymond Chandler...

Other Books in the Series

Philip Marlowe (8 books)
  • The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe #1)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe #2)
  • The High Window (Philip Marlowe #3)
  • The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5)
  • The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6)
  • Playback (Philip Marlowe, #7)
  • Todo Marlowe (Philip Marlowe #1-7)

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“I'm all done with hating you. It's all washed out of me. I hate people hard, but I don't hate them very long.” 51 likes
“Police business is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we get...” 34 likes
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