Dan Schwent's Reviews > The Little Sister

The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler
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May 10, 12

bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, 2012
Read from May 04 to 09, 2012

A woman from a small Kansas town hires Philip Marlowe to find her missing brother. What Marlowe finds is himself ensnared in a web of drugs, blackmail, and murder...

As I've said many times, noir fiction and I go together like a bottle of cheap vodka and nightmares about being chased by coyotes. The Little Sister by the esteemed Raymond Chandler is no exception.

It may be because it's been a few months since I've read one of Raymond Chandler's oddly poetic noir masterpieces but I liked The Little Sister almost as much as Farewell, My Lovely but not as much as The Big Sleep. Chandler's simile-ridden prose pushes Marlowe from one sordid event to the next, making the bloody trip as pleasurable as a walk on the beach.

As is usual for a Chandler book, the plot meanders all over the place. Marlowe takes a kicking but keeps pushing his way forward, solving the case through a combination of luck, good detective work, and top notch dialog.

The case looked simple when it was just Ormafay looking for Orrin. Throw in the blackmail angle with Mavis Weld, some thug named Steelgrave, and people getting murdered with ice picks to the neck every other chapter and I had no idea where things were going for a good portion of the book.

The trip to the end was confusing but quite pleasurable due to Chandler's sublime prose. I lost track of all the one-liners I wanted to remember. "His nose had been broken and set but hadn't ever been a collector's item" is the first one that springs to mind.

I know I saw it with every Raymond Chandler book I review but this is a must read for noir and detective fiction fans. It's an easy four stars.
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05/06/2012 page 22
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Great review as usual.Have to read more Chandler.But so many good books and so little time.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Henry wrote: "so many good books and so little time."

I hear that.


Jeffrey Keeten I know from personal experience you have to keep both eyes peeled on those women from small Kansas towns. I married a gal from Texas just so I could sleep at night. You have me jonesing for some Chandler.


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jeffrey wrote: "I know from personal experience you have to keep both eyes peeled on those women from small Kansas towns. I married a gal from Texas just so I could sleep at night. You have me jonesing for some Ch..."

I could go for some more Chandler. My current supply is as dry as a preacher's whiskey bottle.


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Now that I'm done with the Song of Ice & Fire books(boo hoo) & absolutely floundering as to what to read next, I think I'll pick up some Chandler. We just got in a beautiful brand new copy of Farewell My Lovely.

Also, I'm sorry about your preacher's whiskey bottle dryness etc.


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Melissa wrote: "Also, I'm sorry about your preacher's whiskey bottle dryness etc. "

Thanks. With a little like, Lady in the Lake or The Long Goodbye will turn up at the used bookstore where I have substantial credit soon.


James Thane Now that you're on this Chandler binge, have you read The Last Good Kiss? Not Chandler, obviously, but as much as you've enjoyed the two Chandlers, you might really like this one. One of the best opening lines in all of crime fiction.


message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I'll have to give The Last Good Kiss a try once I get the pile down to a manageable level, which may require fire at this point.


James Thane I hear that!


Mrssupervisorrat Great review! Loved the book aswell.


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Mrssupervisorrat wrote: "Great review! Loved the book aswell."

Thanks! I should read another Chandler before the end of the year.


message 12: by Jake (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jake Jaqua Good luck with those coyotes!


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