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The High Window

(Philip Marlowe)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  21,449 ratings  ·  906 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. ...more
Paperback, 265 pages
Published August 12th 1992 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published August 17th 1942)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,449 ratings  ·  906 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Bill Kerwin
Sep 30, 2007 rated it really liked it

In this worthy companion to The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely. Marlowe tracks a rare colonial coin called "The Brasher Doubloon," finds a corpse, clears an innocent suspect, and--ever the knight in tarnished armor--rescues a damsel in distress.

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),
Henry Avila
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Now our friend Philip Marlowe, a private dick in Los Angeles during the 1940's , is a nice guy...most of the time, he wouldn't murder anyone who didn't need it, maybe not real accurate, but in this novel he does let two killers escape justice...the victims were worst than the perpetrators. An opinion I'm sure the readers will concur... In Pasadena, a small, quiet, wealthy city outside L.A. lives in one of those mansions that some people envy, other hate a certain Mrs. Elizabeth Bright Murdock, t ...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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

She saw the cut glass decanter, took the stopper out, poured herself a drink and tossed it down with a quick flip of the wrist.
“You’re a man named Marlowe?” she asked, looking at me. She put her hips against the end of the desk and crossed her ankles.
I said I was a man named Marlowe.
“By and large,” she said, “I am quite sure I am not going to like you one damn little bit. So speak your piece and drift away.”

It’s a hard-boiled world out there, and a man named Marlowe must go down into its sewer
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
robin friedman
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Shop-Soiled Galahad

"The High Window" (1942) is the third of Raymond Chandler's novels featuring the detective Philip Marlowe. Marlowe tells the story in his own inimitable voice. The action of the story takes place over a three day period in 1941 in Los Angeles. Marlowe is faced with a confusing series of crimes including murder, counterfeiting, robbery, and blackmail.

The plotting is difficult and cumbersome in following the different crimes; but all is explained, perhaps too neatly, in the
Gary Inbinder
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A rich, twice widowed lush who likes to bully people, especially her mousey secretary and wimpy son, hires Marlowe to find a valuable coin, a Brasher Doubloon, and the ex-nightclub entertainer daughter-in-law who the old bat suspects of having absconded with the rare gold piece. In the course of his investigation, Marlowe encounters the usual cast of noir characters: losers, drunks, low-life criminals, corrupt rich people, blackmailers, brassy broads, tough cops, a frozen-eyed henchman, and dead ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir
‘All right. Get on with it. I have a feeling you are going to be very brilliant. Remorseless, flow of logic and intuition and all that rot. Just like a detective in a book.’

I really like Philip Marlowe, I've decided. I want to look after him. He's actually a stand up guy. In this book I really preferred the simpler plot (not that Chandler's plots are ever terribly complicated). Has this one been made into a movie? As with all of this series, they all seem very cinematic to me, like half remember
Ben Winch
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anglo, american, pulp
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
Dave Schaafsma
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
“All right,” he said wearily. “Get on with it. I have a feeling you are going to be very brilliant. Remorseless flow of logic and intuition and all that rot. Just like a detective in a book.”

“Sure. Taking the evidence piece by piece, putting it all together in a neat pattern, sneaking in an odd bit I had on my hip here and there, analyzing the motives and characters and making them out to be quite different from what anybody – or I myself for that matter – thought them to be up to this golden mo
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And Justice For All

"The High Window" is the third book in Chandler's Philip Marlowe franchise. At this point in the series, an astute reader might just notice that Marlowe's clients are all rich folks in high-walled estates with numerous servants running cover for them. Perhaps they are the only ones who can afford his freight. And, perhaps the rich are different. They have such complicated problems hat ors almost impossible to untwist them. In another sense, though, Chandler, through Marlowe, i
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: noir
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
Paul E. Morph
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another hard-boiled detective novel starring the quintessential noir detective, Philip Marlowe.

Our protagonist takes on a seemingly simple case involving a stolen gold doubloon but, this being a Chandler novel, the bodies soon start hitting the floor and Marlowe soon realises there's more to it than just a missing coin.

Marlowe seems to dial the misogyny down a notch in this one and becomes quite a sweet father figure to a 'damsel in distress' with some physical and mental health issues. Said da
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Tom Mathews
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of good mysteries and the classics
What can I say? It's Philip Marlowe as written by Raymond Chandler. How can it not be just what the doctor ordered? Granted, there are rumors that Chandler was less than thrilled by the final product but seriously, wouldn't you really prefer the worst of Raymond Chandler over the best of Baldacci?

4.5 stars

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could st
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,
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
PI Marlowe keeps finding dead bodies. Private eyes aren't supposed to deal with murder. I like this Marlowe: playful and funny while cynical and hardnosed when needed. Echoes of Sam Spade are heard. The usual metaphors, snappy patter, and philosophical asides are intact. A fun, fast read.

2nd reading 5/29/20.
2.5 stars only
The first half was slow and very uneven, but the second half picked up the pace with a nice rhythm .... until the pages of info-dump of "what really happened' by Marlowe. This could have been peppered throughout the book for far more enjoyable reading. My least favourite Marlowe so far, even worse than Farewell, My Lovely

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.

Brasher Dubloons

Marlowe chases Mrs Murdock's Brasher Dubloon and
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
J.G. Keely
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Chandler’s third installment in the Marlowe series, The High Window, we see our cynical detective given a job by a cranky and boozy widow, Mrs. Murdock, to search for a rare coin that was allegedly swiped by her daughter-in-law. As is the case with many other Marlowe novels, the initial request to find someone or something is only the appetizer to the full scale mystery that eventually reveals itself before the reader’s eyes.

Inevitably, Phillip Marlowe, as is the case with many of the other
I read this book for the “Noir” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

I didn’t enjoy The High Window quite as much as I loved The Big Sleep or Farewell, My Lovely, but I still really liked it. Marlowe is a great main character—he’s idealistic, realistic and cynical, all rolled into one. I think someone close to the end of this book calls him a “shop-soiled Galahad,” and that really struck me as accurate. I also loved a couple of the literary allusions that he made, just assuming that the reader
Carla Remy
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Stupendous. I had never read this one before, so it was fresh. Loved it.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Paul  Perry
I once almost got in to a fist fight with an acquaintance for suggesting that Dashiell Hammett was a better writer than Raymond Chandler. I was trying to rile him and was (kind of) joking. I've always preferred Hammett's style - more forthright, and yet intricate and layered. I will never forget the feeling of utter shock and breathlessness on reading Red Harvest in a single sitting; THIS was written in 1929??? Tarantino has nothing on this dude!

Rereading The High Window my mind isn't changed e
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it

An enjoyable, if almost impossibly convoluted story about a stolen gold coin. Chandler has left behind the "nigger" slurs of Farewell, My Lovely - unless you count Marlowe's friendship with a "Negro" lawn jockey in Pasadena whom he pats on the head numerous times - and has moved on to Jews. There's "an old Jew" who owns a pawnshop and tries to bargain Marlowe down unseemlily; a "fat greasy sensual Jew with the tall stately bored showgirl;" Dr. Carl Moss - "a big burly Jew with a Hitler mustache,
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: detailed-review
When I read my first Raymond Chandler book, The Long Goodbye, it blew my mind. WHAT IS THIS GENRE BOOK WITH LITERARY-LEVEL PROSE?! Is that allowed? I didn’t know that was allowed! Reading The Long Goodbye didn’t require any extra work to enjoy. It was just fun. But it had that decadent style and strong character voice too, those literary underpinnings that that made you want to take it with you to a local coffee shop, so all the cute girls would think you were really sophisticated and therefore ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The High Window 1 6 Sep 09, 2012 08:25PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Philip Marlowe (10 books)
  • The Big Sleep
  • Farewell, My Lovely
  • The Lady in the Lake
  • The Little Sister
  • The Long Goodbye
  • Playback
  • Trouble Is My Business
  • Poodle Springs
  • Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe Series 4 Books Set (The Big Sleep, The Lady in the Lake, The High Window, The Long Good-Bye, #1, 3, 4, 6))

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