Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Philip Marlowe #2

Farewell, My Lovely

Rate this book
Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.

292 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1940

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Raymond Chandler

476 books4,767 followers
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 addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been realized into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. Chandler's Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett's Sam Spade, are considered by some to be synonymous with "private detective," both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

Some of Chandler's novels are considered to be important literary works, and three are often considered to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as "arguably the first book since Hammett's The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery".

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
14,178 (36%)
4 stars
16,129 (41%)
3 stars
6,721 (17%)
2 stars
1,170 (3%)
1 star
370 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,230 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
December 4, 2013
Definitely my favorite Chandler, beating out The Big Sleep by a star and more than a dozen memorable lines. This book is absolutely soaking in quotables and may have the best prose of any noir I’ve ever read. Add in a classic main character and a solid plot and you have a nice shiny bundle of win.
Chandler’s iconic PI is an arrogant alcoholic who fails every PC test you can formulate. He’s racist (from what I recall he insults African-Americans, Japanese and Native Americans and maybe others), homophobic and sexist enough that I would blackjack him on the braincase before he ever got within 10 yards of either of my daughters.    
He’s also mesmerizing and fills up the page with his presence. His entertainment value is off the charts and he cracks wiser than anyone this side of Sam Spade. But whereas Hammett’s Spade is all slick, smoky quips and cat-like grace, Marlowe is the “other side of the tracks” version. He’s unkempt, rugged and surly and his words are crusty with barbs.
Whereas Spade’s every move seems coordinated and cross-referenced like a well-rehearsed play, Marlowe is all reaction, counterpunch and intuitive hunches.
However, like Spade, he’s also smart (much more than he usually lets on) and has a knack for clear thinking and being able to read people. Best of all though, the man is incapable of cutting slack or giving inches and is saltier than the Pacific Ocean.
A convoluted series of mini-mysteries all stemming from Marlowe’s search for the ex-girlfriend of a just released from prison man-mountain named Moose Malloy. Fairly typical noir stuff but very well executed and paced to perfection by Chandler.
Finally…the prose. The real star of the show. I would say Chandler’s writing is a masterful example of noir. There may be others as good but it is hard for me to imagine any better. I would put Chandler’s prose into 3 separate and equally impressive categories that you don’t usually see from a single pen. First, you have a whole host of “I have to remember that” lines that are just fun to read. Quotes like:
“The eighty-five cent dinner tasted like a discarded mail bag and was served to me by a waiter who looked as if he would slug me for a quarter, cut my throat for six bits and bury me at sea in a barrel of concrete for a dollar and a half, plus sales tax.”

“‘Who is the Hemingway person at all?’
A guy that keeps saying the same thing over and over until you begin to believe it must be good.”

“I didn’t say anything. I lit my pipe again. It makes you look thoughtful when you’re not thinking.”     
“It was a nice walk if you liked grunting.”
“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”
“I like smooth shiny girl, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”
“A Harvard boy. Nice use of the subjunctive mood. The end of my foot itched, but my bank account was still trying to crawl under a duck.”
Second, Chandler has a wonderful facility for painting descriptions so that you feel like you’re walking right beside Marlowe and he does it in such sparse, efficient style.
1644 West 54th Place was a dried-out brown house with a dried-out brown lawn in front of it. There was a large bare patch around a tough-looking palm tree. On the porch stood one lonely wooden rocker, and the afternoon breeze made the unprunned shoots of last year’s poinsettias tap-tap against the cracked stucco wall. A line of stiff yellowish half-washed clothes jittered on a rusty wire in the side yard.

I was looking into dimness at a blowsy woman who was blowing her nose as she opened the door. Her face was gray and puffy. She had weedy hair of that vague color which is neither brown nor blond, that hasn’t enough life in it to be ginger and isn’t clean enough to be gray. Her body was thick in a shapeless outing flannel bathrobe many moons past color and design.
Those descriptions materialized in front of me more than pages of less polished prose could accomplish. It felt like I was there.

Finally, there are the passages that aren’t just clever quips or snappy dialogue, but that convey a real sense of emotion.
“She hung up, leaving me with a curious feeling of having talked to somebody that didn’t exist.”
“…a sudden flashing movement that I sensed rather than saw. A pool of darkness opened at my feet and was far, far deeper than the blackest night. I dived into it. It had no bottom.”
“There was just enough for to make everything seem unreal. The wet air was as cold as the ashes of love.”
That is the trifecta of writing. Brilliant, sharp and fun….descriptive, informative and polished…and evocative, moving and powerful.
Yes, 5.0 stars and a definite must read for fans of noir, mysteries or just superb prose.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
May 14, 2022
Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2), Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely is a novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1940, the second novel he wrote featuring the Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe. It was adapted for the screen three times and was also adapted for the stage and radio. Private detective Philip Marlowe is investigating a dead-end missing person case when he sees a felon, Moose Malloy, barging into a nightclub called Florian's, looking for his ex-girlfriend Velma Valento. The club has changed owners, so no one now there knows her. Malloy ends up killing the black owner of the club and escaping.

The murder case is assigned to Lt. Nulty, a Los Angeles Police detective who has no interest in the murder of a black man. Marlowe advises Nulty to look for Malloy's girlfriend, but Nulty prefers to let Marlowe do the routine legwork and rely on finding Malloy based on his huge size and loud clothes. Marlowe decides to follow up and look for the girl. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه مارس سال2017میلادی

عنوان: بدرود محبوبم (خداحافظ زیبای من)؛ نویسنده: ریموند چندلر؛ مترجم: موژان چگینی؛ تهران، نشر چترنگ، سال1395؛ در290ص؛ شابک9786008066484؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

بدرود، محبوبم عنوان رمانی پلیسی، جنایی نوشته «ریموند چندلر» است که نخستین بار در سال1940میلادی منتشر شد، با اقتباس از این کتاب سه فیلم سینمایی ساخته شده است؛ کارآگاه «فلیپ مارلو» به دنبال شوهر گمشده ی یک زن است؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 23/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,258 followers
May 30, 2020
Mr. Philip Marlowe is six feet tall and weighing 190 lbs. man, women find quite attractive, maybe a tough guy to many onlookers in a sleazy and a low -paying occupation too, but is not a superhero, no eyes in the back of the head when someone smashes his skull with a club from behind, bigger stronger men can and do beat him to a bloody pulp, still the private detective is relentless and will get up... A kind of honestly is his code, yet does bend a little for his needs... constantly smoking cigarettes, drinking hard liquor and chasing careless women, not always he doesn't partake while sleeping. In a routine cheap case , (when he can collect his fee) of trying to find a runaway, a Greek husband, Marlowe on Central Avenue in Los Angeles 1940 gazes at the titanic and dangerous Moose Malloy, on an incessant mission, this former jailbird is six and a half feet tall, 260 lbs., dwarfs the amazed private eye, the recent unwisely released bank robber, is looking for his lost love the mysterious cute redhead Velma, enters the shady establishment the Florian nearby, he worked in eight long years ago then a nightclub now a gambling den, ( not legal, but in this city, no questions are asked) soon a man goes flying out the door landing in the gutter, the dumb Moose returns grabs Philip like he's a paper doll and takes him upstairs, his shoes hardly touch the steps, after a brief argument the bouncer bounces very high, Mr.Malloy opens the door ( he wants information, now) not realizing things have changed... to an office in the back, does not get any...a homicide occurs the unstoppable force has been let loose . The cops don't trust Mr.Marlowe even the honest ones, asking him many questions and they do not like his answers, threatening to take away his license he has heard that before, finally, let him walk out of their dingy downtown police headquarters, however all the troubles aren't any of his concern... A new case that pays well 100 bucks just to be a bodyguard, his client the nervous Mr. Lindsay Marriott, maybe a loathsome gigolo, he dresses well though and has good manners, involved with the wife of a multi -millionaire among others, the beautiful Mrs. Lewin ( Helen) Grayle but money doesn't smell, ( not always) things go dark and when Philip awakes at night in the lonely canyon, his client is no more...Marlowe will have to travels through the unsavory, with corruption everywhere he goes, mostly in the nearby small town of Bay City, ( Santa Monica)... meeting pretentious quacks, political bosses dirty cops, drug pushing doctors visiting gambling boats off the coast, the rich creeps too even a "good girl", (who scares him ) and with little help to solve several murders... Raymond Chandler describes Los Angeles as nobody before or after has, the underbelly and upper crust all of it, he knows how to write his plots are not what's important in his novels but characterization, style, pace, atmosphere and witty dialogue that few authors can ever reach or even attempt , talent is inherited, out of many only the giants will climb the heights of this eternal scribe.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,599 followers
February 16, 2020
I love Goodreads it has really enhanced my reading experience. And at the same time added to my anxiety. There are too many great books to read. I have at least 3k physical books on my TBR pile in my office that has really turned into a book storage space. When another reader posts something about one of my favorite books, I stop and think about how much I loved that book. That’s what happened recently with Farewell My Lovely. I dropped what I was reading and read it again. I don’t have time to reread books not with with such a tall TBR pile that continually beckons…and yet I do because that’s what the reading experience is all about. Great reads.
I’ve read Farewell my Lovely a number of times and with each reading I catch something I’d missed. This book is timeless and one of the greats with the voice and turn-of-phrase that many have tried to duplicate and have failed. I highly recommend this book.
David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for kohey.
51 reviews196 followers
February 7, 2017
First of all I'm so partial to R.Chandler's books that I'd easily give only the titles three stars,and this gem is definitely a five-star title.
Apart from this sentimental love-and-hate story,I’m ALWAYS impressed by the characters speaking like they carry a book of wit and humor,to the point that I’ll start picking up sharp-edged setences from here and add them to my daily conversation.
The plot is a bit comlicated with rugged and overused narrative and minor parts,but the main irresistible characters beautifully cancel them out.
Of his novels,I'd say this is one of the best character-driven ones.
It was published in 1940,and the content is somewhat old fashioned,but every time I open this book,I can meet timeless Philip Marlowe,a man of principle.Just for this reason,I'll be reading it forever.
Profile Image for Robin.
495 reviews2,737 followers
July 10, 2017
"She's a nice girl. Not my type."

"You don't like them nice?" He had another cigarette going. The smoke was being fanned away from his face by his hand.

"I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin."

Hey, copper, it's how I talk, see? Mahhhhhh

This was exactly what the doctor ordered after a blitz of wonderful yet terribly earnest books, one after the other. This classic noir was everything I needed. A handsome private dick (ahem), a heist of some rare jade jewels, mysterious beauties, lots of alcohol, clever wisecracks, and great writing.
Profile Image for Francesc.
460 reviews223 followers
June 23, 2020
Uno de los pendientes de Chandler.
La trama se desarrolla más lentamente que en otras ocasiones y el nudo central se encalla un poco ya que da la sensación de que el autor alarga innecesariamente la novela y este hecho le resta valor a un inicio trepidante y a un final al más puro estilo Marlowe.
Tiene todos los ingredientes "Hard Boiled" de siempre, aunque no es tan "perfecta" como "El sueño eterno" o "La dama del lago".

One of Chandler's list .
The plot unfolds more slowly than others occasions and the central knot becomes a bit stranded since it gives the feeling that the author unnecessarily lengthens the novel and this fact substrats value to a fast-paced beginning and an end in the purest Marlowe style.
It has all the "Hard Boiled" ingredients of all time, although it is not as "perfect" as "The big sleep" or "The lady of the lake".
Profile Image for Ayz.
120 reviews19 followers
September 11, 2023
a powerful follow up to ‘the big sleep’ and possibly even better. i haven’t been able to make up my mind just yet. both are towering achievements (not to mention intimidating as a writer) in detective fiction, but to my mind what chandler accomplished in the big sleep in regards to revealing the despair and depravity of the rich in a way that felt like pulling the curtain back just a tiny bit and not at all liking what you saw. revolting even.

and that’s reading it in 2023. which just shows you the timeless power of good storytelling.

which brings me to ‘farewell my lovely’ — a book which doesn’t have that unifying thematic quality, but what it makes up with in spades is chandler’s new found confidence in his writing ability after his debut. marlowe’s gritty sarcasm has been cranked up to 11, and it’s music to the ears, my friends. makes me want to walk around and answer everyone i know with sardonic replies that cut like a sharp knife, but only a few seconds later when the other person realizes the joke.

just fantastic dialogue all throughout.

and there’s a chapter where marlowe gets drugged and stumbles around trying to get a grip on things, that might be the funniest thing you’ll read all year. i was laughing out loud throughout.

to sum it up: i’m rereading this book as i post this.

that’s how good it is.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
January 23, 2012
Philip Marlowe is looking for a woman's missing husband when he encounters Moose Malloy, a brute fresh out of prison, looking for his lost love Velma. Moose kills a man and Marlowe gets corralled into looking for the missing Velma. In the mean time, Marlowe gets another gig as a bodyguard and soon winds up with a corpse for a client. Will Marlowe find Velma and get to the bottom of things?

As I've said before, noir fiction and I go together like chronic constipation and heroin addiction. Farewell, My Lovely, Philip Marlowe's sophmore adventure, is one of the better noir tales I've ever read.

I wasn't completely sold on Farewell, My Lovely at first. It seemed like it took a little longer to get started than the Big Sleep. Once Marlowe got warmed up and I forgave it for not being The Big Sleep, I was completely absorbed by the writing. Chandler's poetic prose only got better in the gap between the Big Sleep and this book. There were even more quotable lines in this one. Chandler's similes reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse's at times, maybe the kind old Plum would write if he was in the grips of a powerful hangover.

"I lit a cigarette. It tasted like a plumber's handkerchief."

As for the plot, it's only slightly less convoluted than the Big Sleep. The two cases didn't intersect much until the end and I only guessed the big twist a paragraph or two before it happened. As with the previous book, the prose was the star of the show. Marlowe took so many blows to the head in this one that I had sympathy pains while reading it.

While I wouldn't say it's as good as The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely is a classic and not to be missed by noir fans. Four easy stars.

Profile Image for Steve.
251 reviews899 followers
September 29, 2016
Excerpts from a dinner honoring the 2016 winner of the Otis Chandler Award for Literary Criticism

Audience Question: You’re known for your essay on the Kantian aesthetic of disinterested judgment as seen in the works of James Joyce, William Gaddis, and Dan Brown. Are there other authors or titles that come to mind, perhaps even more focused on the primacy of style?

Steve: Well, let’s see… Maybe the first book I read where a certain shadowy deportment really popped as a pure statement of style was Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely. The book itself was a cannibalization of three earlier short stories of his. Whereas the stories were neatly contained as standalones, the edits in piecing them together were more slapdash, sacrificing both congruency and clarity in the process. Chandler responded saying, "My whole career is based on the idea that the formula doesn't matter, the thing that counts is what you do with the formula; that is to say, it is a matter of style.” And of course that hard-boiled, noir feel of his is prevalent to this day.

Audience Question: I may be taking you further afield, but is this visual, visceral style brought on by Chandler one that necessarily de-emphasizes plot?

Steve: I don’t think so. Style is not everything. (Nor is image, much as Andre Agassi would have us believe on Canon's behalf.) Furthermore, …

Audience Question: [interrupting what would surely have been an insightful elaboration on the topic of substance v. style] But think back to the movies. When you picture Bogie and Bacall in The Big Sleep, do you remember the on-screen chemistry and the wise guy patter, or is it a plot detail, something like the perp who stole the falcon, that stuck with you?

Steve: Actually, wasn’t that Dashiell…

Audience member: [blurting out] For me, it’s Bogie and Bacall. Even in black and white they sizzle.

Steve: Admittedly, HumpBac, as I like to call them (retrofitting a nickname) were iconic, but…

Another audience member: Those couple combo names have kind of run their course, don’t you think? Who’s even together at this point? Certainly not Brangelina. TomKat? – no. Zanessa? – no.

Yet another voice from the audience: What about Bennifer? Are they? It’s hard to keep track.

And another: I don’t think so. I suppose Lizard (that is, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) were the first of the on-again, off-again power couples.

Host: I’m afraid we may be veering off course as litterateurs, my friends. This isn’t an episode of I Love Lucy, after all. Should we redirect ourselves? Steve?

Steve: Actually, that’s often how it works with me – seemingly on point for brief spurts before devolving into flapdoodle. Besides, I just thought of another one: Lucille Ball + Desi Arnaz. They’d be Ba, Bu, bu, b…

Susan (Steve's lovely): You’re mumbling in your sleep again.

Steve: Huh?

Susan: Must be another pizza dream.

Steve: Yeah, [shaking cobwebs from his head] that and the bibimbap I had for lunch. With extra hot sauce.

Susan: So what were you dreaming?

Steve: Ha, I think I was getting some kind of award and spouting complete nonsense, like in one of my Goodreads reviews where I have nothing to say but say it anyway. The only thing I remember from it is groping for a certain word.

Susan: Do you remember what it is?

Steve: Yeah. Ballsy.

Steve: [continuing, somewhat incredulous] I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Susan: Hmm. Definitely a pizza dream.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,108 reviews353 followers
October 6, 2022
Down These Mean Streets

When you open up any dictionary and you look up the phrase Hardboiled private eye, you'll find it defined right there in black and white as Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. If much of the book seems familiar, it may be that you read it many years ago or that so many of the motifs were borrowed and used by so many other private eye writers over the years. But if you want to know how it's really done, you return to the master Hardboiled craftsman himself.

I always picture Philip Marlowe as Humphrey Bogart and no one can ever shake that image from me. However, Bogart only played Marlowe in the film adaptation of the first book in the series, The Big Sleep. For Farewell, My Lovely, you get the film images of Dick Powell and Robert Mitchum many decades later.

But, you always get the mean streets of Los Angeles no matter how you picture Marlowe. These streets range from the seedy joints lining Central Avenue to the estates in Beverly Hills and Brentwood Heights. The streets lead of course to Chandler's fictional Bay City, loosely based on what was a crooked Santa Monica right down to the gambling boats three legal miles offshore.

Marlowe here is always quick with a quip but world-weary. He's seen it all a time or two and nothing necessarily surprises him except maybe getting knocked out when he's playing bodyguard or locked up and drug-addled in a sanitarium.

The very beginning of the novel sets the whole attitude as Marlowe nonchalantly accepts a great big ape of a guy, Moose Malloy, no less, throwing a guy bodily out if his way. Moose is a great character, a singleminded maniac returned to the street after eight years in the pen and determined to find his gal, Vera. Gil Brewer later created a whole novel about such a guy in A Killer Is Loose.

All the usual Hardboiled rackets are well-represented here from blackmail to fortune telling to crooked cops to payoffs to rich folks living in a different world. Through it all, Marlowe resolutely starts adding up all these things that just don't add up and couldn't possibly be related. But what makes it such a joy to read is the fantastic prose, the descriptions of people and places that just bring them to life, often with a sardonic humor.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,978 followers
April 28, 2010
Phillip Marlowe is one of the most famous and influential characters in detective fiction. He’s also a racist alcoholic, and after all the blows to the head he routinely takes, he’s almost certainly suffering from post-concussion syndrome so you gotta question his judgment.

But he’s also the guy that says things like this:

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window."

And this:

"He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake."

And this:

”" I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

So I always find myself making allowances for Marlowe’s bad habits and personal failings.

Marlowe is working a boring job trying to find a missing husband when he has the bad luck to come across Moose Malloy. Malloy is a giant hulk of a man who just got out of prison and is looking for his lost love, Velma. Unfortunately, Moose is kind of simple and doesn’t know his own strength so he ends up killing somebody when asking questions. As a witness, Marlowe tells the cops what he saw and is coerced into trying to find Velma by a lazy detective. However, a real paying job as a bodyguard for a guy delivering a ransom for the return of stolen jewelry comes up so Marlowe ditches the Malloy mess. But things don’t go quite as expected.

One of the better Chandler novels, this is pretty typical Marlowe. The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s not really important. It’s all about atmosphere and attitude. If you can get past the casual racism that litters the early chapters, you’ll find one of the classics of noir fiction.
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 9 books6,945 followers
June 13, 2015
It's impossible to think of anything that might be remotely fresh and interesting to say about this book. It's a classic of crime fiction; it was first published in 1940, and it's been reviewed thousands of times, mostly by people far more competent than I.

Suffice it to say that this is the second full-length novel featuring Los Angeles detective Philip Marlowe, following The Big Sleep, which had been published in 1939. Marlowe was the prototype for all the tough, wise-cracking P.I.s that would follow, and Chandler was really the first crime fiction writer to fully exploit the setting of Los Angeles. Scores of writers have followed in his footsteps, but very few have succeeded as well as Chandler did.

As the book opens, Marlowe is searching for a missing husband when he encounters a mountain of a man named Moose Malloy who is staring up at a bar above the barber shop where Marlowe had hoped to find the aforementioned missing husband. Malloy, fresh out of prison after an eight-year stretch, is looking for his lost love, Velma. Malloy hasn't heard from Velma in all of that time, but that has not quenched his affections for the woman who used to work in the bar.

Eight years is a long time, and in the interim, the bar, which used to be a white establishment, has now become an African-American one, although in 1940, no one would have described the place quite that politely. Well, one thing leads to another and Malloy drags Marlowe up the stairs and begins demanding answers from the people in the bar who, not surprisingly, have never heard of Velma.

Malloy winds up killing someone in the bar and takes off, leaving Marlowe to explain things to the cops. From that point on, Marlowe is entangled in Malloy's search. As a sideline, he also takes a job body guarding a guy who is trying to exchange cash for a valuable jade necklace that was stolen from a friend.

Neither job is simple and neither turns out very well, and before long, Marlowe is up to his neck in trouble with the cops and a whole lot of other people as well. Before it's all over, he'll be beat up, doped up, pushed around, and lied to, but it's all in the nature of the job.

The plot really doesn't make a lot of sense, but nobody reads Chandler for the plot. The book is beautifully written with one great line following another. Through Marlowe, Chandler rolls back the curtain and exposes the seamy side of pre-war L.A. It's not a pretty sight, and you sometimes get the impression that Marlowe might be the only honest, decent man in the state.

The Big Sleep may be one of the greatest crime novels ever written, and it's an impossible act to follow, even for Raymond Chandler. I like this book a lot, but I don't think it's quite on a par with the first book in the series. A solid 4.5 stars for me.

Profile Image for Nikos Tsentemeidis.
413 reviews216 followers
January 17, 2021
«Πιστεύω πως η κλασική εκπαίδευση σε προστατεύει από την επιτήδευση που έχει κατακλύσει τα σύγχρονα μυθιστορήματα»

Raymond Chandler

Profile Image for Luís.
1,950 reviews615 followers
September 20, 2023
I started reading Raymond Chandler's novels to complete my thriller culture. I thought I would find that same cliché of the solitary and invincible detective laying down the law in the streets of Los Angeles. So yes, it's partly true, but the novel is not just a story of gangsters; the essential lies in the talent of Chandler: the atmosphere, the intrigue, and the writing are remarkable.
The story begins with an unusual encounter. Marlowe meets a man distinguished by a build "no wider than a tank truck." The behemoth enters a bar frequented by African Americans, and in less than a minute, one of the customers had ejected from the establishment—an excellent glide. The detective, intrigued, enters the bar in turn. And here, he is drawn into a tortuous story that will take him to the living rooms of a millionaire, a medium or an alcoholic slut, a clandestine clinic, or the holds of a boat transformed into a casino.
I particularly liked Chandler's style. He knows how to be lyrical and uses images like that of a beetle stuck in a police building to illustrate Marlowe's state of mind. And then there are these images that I find lovely. Here are two examples: "The moist air was cold as the ashes of a dead love" and "the voice became as cold as a canteen meal." The novel is very well written and has an old-fashioned touch (busty blondes, crooked police officers, Italian mobsters), giving it a natural charm. A favorite!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,107 followers
January 8, 2022
What can I say? I absolutely loved the style and imagery. I mean, SERIOUSLY loved it. Marlowe is the quintessential hard-boiled detective who is suspicious of everyone, especially the dames, clients, cops, and thugs... but he has a pretty good understanding with the thugs.

The tale is fun and familiar, partly because Chandler paved the road for the best of what we know of Noir, but moreover, it's just GOOD. Snappy. Sarcastic. So VERY colorful.

And because -- let's be fair -- this came out in 1940, we need to adjust our sensibilities. Just a little. As a character, Marlowe is an alcoholic racist who lets his boredom rule his feet and his mouth.

I don't have to like his racism to think of him as the anti-hero that he is. He's an asshole in more ways than one. But he happens to hurt assholes, so that's viscerally okay. By today's standards, it's problematic, as are so many things that came out back then are, today, but the core and the style in this is totally brilliant. I'm often astounded by the turns of phrase. And so, for that, alone, I would totally recommend this.
Profile Image for Maria Clara.
1,017 reviews540 followers
October 19, 2017
Como ya dije antes, no me ha gustado nada de nada! Es más, me ha encantado! Desde luego Raymond Chandler supo crear un personaje único, irónico y humano que a día de hoy sigue enamorando al lector.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,256 followers
September 9, 2016
Not as complicated as it seems or as Chandler would like you to believe. And that's a-okay! I love a little private dick action and this is perfectly satisfying!

This story of a thug getting out of prison and trying to find his girl is fairly straightforward, but Raymond Chandler throws a bucketload of red herrings into Farewell, My Lovely in an attempt to throw you, dear reader, off the trail. Stick to the yellow brick road, Dorothy, and you'll figure it all out in short order.

Fresh off The Big Sleep detective Philip Marlowe is at it again in this sequel to that highly popular and well-written mystery. Farewell, My Lovely is an admirable followup, but it would be tough to meet or top one of the best detective novels of all time.

Book two in the Marlowe series marches forward, doing its best to recreate the original with a bevy of interesting characters that are relatively well-drawn for the crime noir genre. All that good, whip-smart, wise-crackin' dialogue you know and love is in place. It's just the plot that's a little out of whack. Chandler attempts to confuse the situation, and generally succeeds, but not in a particularly clever way. It's like a muddied up pond, but a pond nonetheless, so you can swim fairly easily through the murky waters to the other side.

Don't get me wrong, Farewell, My Lovely is still really good reading and any fan of the genre will enjoy it. Just don't expect a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,514 reviews861 followers
April 9, 2017
Fabulous! Philip Marlowe is the man! He gets quite knocked about in this story, which was good enough for me not to guess what was going on until I was told. And that is good enough for me!

Anne, a side kick character in this story sums up the story and Marlowe like this:

You’re so marvellous,’ she said. ‘So brave, so determined, and you work for so little money. Everybody bats you over the head and chokes you and smacks your jaw and fills you with morphine, but you just keep right on hitting between tackle and end until they’re all worn out. What makes you so wonderful?’

Unfortunately for her, she isn't his type:

‘I like smooth shiny girls, hard-boiled and loaded with sin.’

I love Marlowes ability to bounce back. He is totally the dude!

'I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.'

Chandler has such a way with words!
'She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.'
There's also a lot of beautiful landscape prose which can get missed and his attention to detail (or maybe Marlowe's) is impressive. There is a scene where he watches a little bug moving round the office and it's really quite funny and observant.

It's dated -largely in a cool way. Nowadays attitudes are different but there is racism, referring to overly groomed men as pansies, the way women are thought of and described- these are historically accurate now and were contemporary at the time of writing. Everyone chain smokes and is practically alcoholic too.

I love Chandler's writing and I have a black and white movie visual going on the whole way through. I see Humphrey Bogart slugging whisky in his office, then delivering his wise-cracking one liners.

Superbly escapist and wonderful way to spend a few hours of my weekend!
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,492 reviews2,735 followers
June 20, 2022
The plot isn't quite as gripping as that of The Big Sleep but this is another stylish piece from Chandler as he erases the boundary between narrative voice and character - Marlowe is how he speaks: laconic, mordant, acidic, yet with a softer, vulnerable side as he is bludgeoned, shot at, captured and doped. And that scene where he picks up a stray pink bug in a police office, wraps it in his handkerchief and releases it outside speaks volumes. As does his sympathy for huge Moose Malloy on the search for his pre-prison sweetheart, Velma.

The writing is sharp and extravagant, utterly distinctive, and the observations on LA create an atmosphere that permeates the text. Anne Riordan, a 'nice' girl-next-door, gets to do some flirty bickering with Marlowe but does he think he's too much in the gutter for her fragrant self?

Looking forward to Marlowe #3.

(Original review below)
More tough-talking noir from the world-weary Marlowe as he untangles another convoluted case involving jewel heists, blackmail, corruption, a beautiful woman on the make and a feisty girl-next-door. The casual racism is jarring to modern ears with use of the N word alongside descriptions of an 'Indian' (Native American) who is 'greasy' and 'smelly' and racially-inflected slang for passing Japanese and Italian characters... But the prose is characterful and the plot flows easily - and me, I love Moose Malloy!
Profile Image for Joe.
337 reviews81 followers
August 13, 2021
In this his second adventure, private detective Philip Marlowe – more or less in between cases – pokes his inquisitive nose where it doesn’t belong. Encountering a behemoth of an ex-con, Moose Malloy, on the street, Marlowe follows the big man into a bar and witnesses a murder. And before the reader can ask, “Where’s my Velma?” – the question makes sense when you read the novel – Marlowe finds himself embroiled in police corruption, a blackmail scam, chasing a gang of jewelry thieves, another murder encounters a young female who becomes his pseudo-partner, meets up with a psychic con-man and a crooked doctor and is propositioned by a beautiful young woman who is married to a much older and very wealthy man. All the while Marlowe attempts to keep tabs on Moose.

If possible the plot/story-line of Farewell, My Lovely is even more convoluted than its predecessor, The Big Sleep. Marlowe meeting new players with each twist and turn of the investigation and getting physically bounced around on a regular basis. (For the politically correct there are a handful of racial slurs here which may make the reader cringe.) But somehow the author ties it all together in the end with maybe a not so neat bow.

This being a Chandler novel there are plenty of classic “Marlowe-isms”. After being called to a rich client’s home, where “the carpeting almost tickled his ankles”, he describes the den he is escorted into as “a room where anything could happen, except work.”

When embarking on a night’s work he makes the observation, “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance. I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”

Ahhhh – to be Philip Marlowe.
Profile Image for Annetius.
321 reviews92 followers
June 3, 2021
Φαίνεται ίσως αστείο ή ευτελές αλλά το πρώτο πράγμα που με τραβάει εδώ είναι το όνομα του συγγραφέα που βρίσκω αρκετά σέξυ. Συγκεκριμένα ο συνειρμός είναι ο εξής: Chandler > chandelier > πολυέλαιος > κρεμάστηκα απ’ τον πολυέλαιο (έκφραση που λέμε στην παρέα και σημαίνει συγκεκριμένα πράγματα, όποιος κατάλαβε κατάλαβε). Το αυτό ισχύει και για τον τίτλο. Σε ένα noir μυθιστόρημα, ακόμη και αυτές οι λεπτομέρειες είναι κομμάτια που συνθέτουν ένα άλφα κλίμα. Αυτό το περιρρέον κλίμα είναι ένας ολόκληρος κόσμος, ένα χαλί πάνω στο οποίο ο αναγνώστης θα κυλιστεί, θα τυλιχτεί, θα μυρίσει και θα νιώσει. Ναι, το noir είναι κατά βάση μια αισθαντική εμπειρία. Είναι σαν ένας ιστός αράχνης με πολύπλοκη δομή που θα τον τσακώσει και θα τον κρατήσει εκεί όμηρο – εφόσον τα καταφέρει, να παρακολουθήσει σφιχτά την υπόθεση με όλα της τα παρελκόμενα.

Νοερά με τοποθέτησα στο φόντο του βιβλίου. Βυθίστηκα σε μια δερμάτινη πολυθρόνα. Άνοιξα μια χρυσή κασετίνα βάζοντας ένα τσιγάρο στην άκρη των χειλιών. Στο μεταξύ, οι ήχοι της jazz έφταναν στα αυτιά μου και τα μάτια μου μισόκλειναν από τη μέθη της ατμόσφαιρας. Ο Φίλιπ Μάρλοου το πήγαινε καλά. Τον εμπιστευόμουν, πάντα οριακά, κι αυτός ήταν ο λόγος που μπορούσα να αντλήσω ευχαρίστηση και να απολαμβάνω ηδονικά τα περίεργα σκηνικά που μου ξεφούρνιζε, γεμάτα ευαισθησία, αισθησιασμό, περηφάνια και τόλμη. Η προσωπικότητα του ντετέκτιβ ανέδιδε τη μελαγχολία αυτή που χαίρεται κανείς να προσλαμβάνει εκ του ασφαλούς, εξ αποστάσεως. It was a hard day’s night, αλλά το ουίσκυ θα είναι πάντα μια καλή λύση σε όλα τα προβλήματα.

Ο ιδιωτικός ντετέκτιβ σέρνει τα βήματά του νωθρά ενώ το μυαλό του παίρνει χίλιες στροφές. Πίνει ουίσκυ ως το μόνο πόσιμο υγρό που θα του προσφέρει διαύγεια και λειτουργικότητα στο έργο του. Μιλάει με γρίφους που μόνο ορισμένοι του κόσμου αυτού μπορούν να αποκωδικοποιήσουν. Μπαίνει σε μια βίλα, σε ένα ψυχιατρείο, μια φυλακή, ένα σιχαμερό αστυνομικό τμήμα με την ίδια άνεση. Είναι βιοπαλαιστής, κερδίζει λίγα –δυσανάλογα με το ρίσκο–, αλλά αυτό το επάγγελμα είναι ευθυγραμμισμένο με τη φτιαξιά του. Είναι φτιαγμένος μεν να λύσει μυστήρια –σε πρώτη ανάγνωση– αλλά κυρίως να ανιχνεύσει αυτό το κάτι των κουλών αυτ��ύ του κόσμου. Αυτών που ξεστράτισαν από τον "σωστό" δρόμο από πάθος, έρωτα, δίψα για χρήμα, υπερβολική ευαισθησία ίσως. Και παραμένει πάντα δεύτερος, ποτέ ο καραμπινάτος πρωταγωνιστής που είναι σε πρώτο πλάνο και θα κερδίσει τη δόξα και την τιμή, το μεγάλο χειροκρότημα στο τέλος της παράστασης. Το σημαντικότερο όμως είναι ότι παραμένει ένας βαθιά ρομαντικός τύπος, ένας τύπος που ασκεί μια διάχυτη γοητεία και καταχωρείται τελικά ως λογοτεχνικός ήρωας με ταυτότητα.

«Ήθελα ένα ποτό, ήθελα μια ασφάλεια ζωής, ήθελα διακοπές, ήθελα ένα εξοχικό σπίτι. Και το είχα; Ένα παλτό, ένα καπέλο και ένα περίστροφο. Τα φόρεσα και βγήκα από το δωμάτιο.»

Τελικά το μυστικό κλειδί του noir είναι αυτό: ο νομιμόφρονας και αγαθός πολίτης μπαίνει σε δυσώδη μονοπάτια που δε θα περπατήσει ποτέ, δε θα αντιληφθεί ποτέ ότι συμβαίνουν ενώ αυτός κοιμάται μακάριος στο δεξί πλευρό, δε θα περάσει ούτε ξυστά από δίπλα γιατί πολύ απλά η απόσταση που τον χωρίζει από αυτά μετριέται σε πλανήτες. Ή και μπορεί να συμβαίνουν σε ένα παράλληλο σύμπαν, μόλις στη διπλανή πόρτα.

Ο Chandler παραμένει σέξυ και μελαγχολικός κλείνοντας το βιβλίο. Πέρασε από πάνω μου ένα βερνίκι με γεύση πικρή και γλυκερή σαν του πούρου, με υφή τραχιά αλλά και μαλακή, έτσι ώστε να μου αφήσει ένα γνήσιο σημάδι τού τι εστί noir και πόσο ελκυστικό μπορεί να είναι ακόμα και για κάποιον που διατείνεται ότι δεν είναι στα αγαπημένα του genre. Στιλάτη, περιθωριακή πλην με κότσια λογοτεχνία.

«-Φοβαμαι το θάνατο και την απόγνωση, είπα. Τα σκοτεινά νερά, τα πρόσωπα των πνιγμένων και τα κρανία δίχως μάτια. Φοβάμαι να πεθάνω, φοβάμαι την ανυπαρξία, φοβάμαι πως δε θα βρω κάποιον που ονομάζεται Μπρουνέτ.»
Profile Image for William.
676 reviews339 followers
October 26, 2019
3.5 stars

A very uneven successor to The Big Sleep, but truly brilliant in part. If I were to make a movie from a book, this would be The One. 😃

The first 1/4 is quite slow, clumsy even (see below). But then it quite suddenly gets wonderful. I wish I could know what happened to Chandler to wake him up. The prose suddenly soars.

Update: It turns out this book is a (clumsy) conglomeration of three of Chandler’s previous short stories:
1. Moose looking for Velma (poor)
2. A stolen jade necklace (adequate)
3. An adventure on an off-shore gambling boat (fail)

The second is typical Chandler, complex, hard-boiled and difficult to know whom to trust. We have two candidates for the femme-fatale here, and you are kept wondering to the last page if there are one or two bad girls. I loved that.

It’s a year since The Big Sleep. I wonder if Marlowe still dreams of Silver-Wig?

There is a long sequence at the docks, on the water and in a ship offshore, that just plod along; no forward motion to the plot, no incentive to stay up late reading more. Chandler definitely was not "in the groove" for this section.

at Chapter 7... This sucks:
I was looking at him across my office desk at about four-thirty when the phone rang and I heard a cool, supercilious voice that sounded as if it thought it was pretty good. It said drawlingly, after I had answered: "You are Philip Marlowe, a private detective?"

More sucky prose in chapter 7...
A wedge of sunlight slipped over the edge of the desk and fell noiselessly to the carpet. Traffic lights bong-bonged outside on the boulevard, interurban cars pounded by, a typewriter clacked monotonously in the lawyer's office beyond the party wall. I had filled and lit a pipe when the telephone rang again.

Chapter 9... Very suddenly the prose is a lot better. Wonderful, in fact -
On the highway the lights of the streaming cars made an almost solid beam in both directions. The big cornpoppers were rolling north growling as they went and festooned all over with green and yellow overhang lights. Three minutes of that and we turned inland, by a big service station, and wound along the flank of the foothills. It got quiet.

There was loneliness and the smell of kelp and the smell of wild sage from the hills. A yellow window hung here and there, all by itself, like the last orange. Cars passed, spraying the pavement with cold white light, then growled off into the darkness again. Wisps of fog chased the stars down the sky.

And... delicious...

"You didn't have to be rough," she said, putting her hands down into the pockets of a long rough coat with flaring shoulders. "I didn't think you killed him." I liked the cool quiet of her voice. I liked her nerve. We stood in the darkness, face to face, not saying anything for a moment. I could see the brush and light in the sky.

And ...

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.

Interesting collection of terms from 1940 for pot:
That a man occasionally smoked a stick of tea, a man who looked as if any touch of the exotic would appeal to him. On the other hand lots of tough guys smoked marihuana, also lots of band musicians and high school kids, and nice girls who had given up trying. American hasheesh. A weed that would grow anywhere. Unlawful to cultivate now.

41% ....
"Oh, I hope you can." She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.

54% ...
Chandler hard boils it, then breaks out the blow torch. Awesome!

56% ... Fabulous. The existential gumshoe...
Hemingway went around and pushed his hard stomach behind the wheel. He started the car. We turned and drifted off down the driveway lined with wild geraniums. A cold wind lifted off the sea. The stars were too far off. They said nothing.
85% ... lagging badly here. Way too much time messing about on the docks and the water. Dull dialogue.

And in the very end, the heart, the detective-philosopher, the human condition.... Wonderful...

Movie versions

There is a very early movie version which I have not seen, The Falcon Takes Over.

I also watched the 1945 Dick Powell movie version, Murder, My Sweet, which was quite a mess. Some good parts of the book were preserved, but mostly the book had it's arms and legs amputated, and it's heart and brain scrambled.

I'm watching the 1975 version with Robert Mitchum, Charlotte Rampling, Sylvia Miles, the late and wonderful Harry Dean Stanton and (surprise!) Sylvester Stallone! This started well, although Mitchum is much, much too old to play Marlowe.

The "romance scene" with Charlotte Rampling (29) and Robert Mitchum (a worn-out 57) was cringe-worthy. Then the movie goes farther and farther off track. I didn’t even finish watching it. What a waste of time.

Profile Image for Paul Ataua.
1,462 reviews146 followers
October 16, 2022
The second in the Philip Marlowe series in which he gets caught up in a murder connected to a ring of jewel thieves. It is always good to follow these stories of the hard drinking detective and this is a fairly good story. Unfortunately, it drifts in the middle and comes to its completion much later than I would have liked. It almost seems as if the publishers ask the author if he could stretch the story by adding another hundred pages in the middle. Enough Chandler there to make it a worthwhile, but possibly not his best.
Profile Image for Tracy  .
798 reviews12 followers
March 4, 2022
Philip Marlowe is a combination many of my favorite crime busters. John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, Lee Child's Jack Reacher, and Jo Nesbø's, Harry Hole (to name a few).

Like Reacher, Harry, and Travis, Marlowe is also incredibly funny, smart and can take care of business with confidence when the situation warrants. Always get a huge kick out of how he handles his lady suitors, calling a spade a spade like nobody's business. He is never lured in with mindless flirtation, and listening to him use his witty dry humor to put people in their place is priceless.

Raymond Chandler a genius at his craft, and nothing I can say can describe how good his books are other than (if you have not already) read them, and enjoy.
Profile Image for Brandon.
914 reviews235 followers
March 15, 2014
“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance. I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

While working a missing persons case, Detective Philip Marlowe finds himself drawn into a murder investigation. Jailbird Moose Malloy knocks off the proprietor of a local watering hole in his pursuit of a gal named Velma. While assisting the cops in hunting him down, Marlowe backs off the case when he realizes he won’t be paid for his efforts. However it’s not long before another job falls in his lap when Marlowe is hired to accompany a man in a money-for-jewelry trade off. When his employer is tucked in for the big sleep, Marlowe tries to piece the crime together, taking a few lumps in the process.

As abrasive as a sheet of sandpaper coated in shattered glass, Philip Marlowe isn’t one to check his attitude at the door. He’s also an alcoholic, a racist, and unapologetically hardheaded. With all these character flaws, why is Raymond Chandler’s signature series so damn enjoyable? It probably has something to do with Chandler’s endlessly quotable prose.

The backbone of any story worth reading is the way the author’s prose plays out on the page. You could have the most exciting plot imaginable but if the writing isn't up to snuff, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on, but sometimes an author can be so good that the plot is almost secondary. The true joy can come from random musings about life, death and everything in between or even the exceptional way an author crafts a setting or describes a character. Raymond Chandler is one such author and while the case surrounding Farewell, My Lovely isn't particularly outstanding, he is certainly a masterful storyteller.

Throughout the story, Chandler takes the reader in a multitude of directions and when Marlowe makes any sort of headway, a new element is introduced thus changing the case. It’s often a wonder Marlowe gets anything done when half the time he’s soaking himself in bourbon while seemingly trying to burn bridges with his smarmy attitude and general distaste for anyone he meets.

Farewell, My Lovely is an excellent novel and a more than worthy follow up to The Big Sleep. Chandler’s Philip Marlowe is one hell of an interesting character leaving me sad to know there are only six books in the series.

Also posted @ Every Read Thing
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
934 reviews280 followers
April 24, 2018
«Non è una storia né brillante né spiritosa. È soltanto una storia fosca e piena di sangue».

In una Los Angeles anni ’40 l’investigatore privato Philip Marlowe si trova casualmente presente sulla scena del crimine. In realtà, non dovrebbe esserci nulla d’interessante dato che la vittima è solo uno “scarafaggio”.

” Accese mezzo sigaro e gettò il cerino sul pavimento, dove già molti altri lo attendevano. La sua voce disse amaramente:
«Scarafaggi. Un'altra uccisione di scarafaggi. Ecco che cosa mi capita dopo diciotto anni di servizio. Niente taglia e niente stampa. Nemmeno due righe di cronaca».”

Così si designano nell’ambiente poliziesco gli afroamericani poiché proprio come gli scarafaggi sono esseri infimi non degni di rientrare nella cerchia umana. Un caso, pertanto, che appare di quart’ordine tanto che neppure la stampa si scomoda a scriverne un trafiletto. Di mezzo, però, c’è la scomparsa dell’affascinante Vilma e lei è bianca e di questo sì che vale la pena occuparsi.
Così si srotola una storia in cui Chandler dimostra una grande capacità descrittiva.
Nulla sfugge. Non c’è personaggio o ambiente che non sia tratteggiato nei minimi dettagli.
Tra descrizioni accurate di polsini, bottoni, rughe, pavimenti e quant’altro, c’è Marlowe.
Un duro, uno che non molla e si districa tra bugie e manganellate citando Shakespeare, facendo riferimenti a Rembrandt tanto per farci capire che non è l’ultimo dei caproni. Quello che stupisce è piuttosto come riesca a ricordarsene data la quantità industriale di whisky che ingurgita.
Un romanzo che, a mio avviso, non supera la prova del tempo sia per lo stile di scrittura sia per l’esplicito razzismo (oltre agli scarafaggi appare anche un indiano e la sua caratteristica principale è quella di puzzare e parlare come un troglodita…) ed una vena misogina. Tracce concrete di ciò che oggi designeremmo come politically incorrect .
Tre stelle per aver dato i natali al genere hard boiled dimostrando coraggio nel descrivere la corruzione morale in un’epoca di censure. Un autore amato come dimostrano commenti e votazioni dei lettori ma probabilmente non è il genere di lettura che mi manda in estasi.

«Siete fantastico», disse. «Così coraggioso, così risoluto, così disposto a lavorare per pochi quattrini. Tutti vi prendono a manganellate in testa, vi strangolano, vi spaccano la mascella e vi riempiono di morfina, ma voi continuate a tirar dritto come se niente fosse finché li avete fatti fuori tutti. Ma com'è che siete così straordinario?».
Profile Image for Emily.
253 reviews31 followers
June 6, 2007
I wish I had Lauren Bacall's looks and a mouth as salty as Phillip Marlowe's. The characters are such great throw backs to the days when men were Men and women were Dames. Chandler's writing is amazingly rich for this genre and the plot lines are just convoluted enough to keep you guessing. Phillip Marlowe is a great faceted character which contrasts nicely against the one-dimensional villains, cops and women who populate the stories. If authors like Sue Grafton are the gummi bears of the genre (low-cal, low fat, but tasty and fun), Raymond Chandler is the 70% dark chocolate.
Profile Image for Erik.
341 reviews272 followers
October 14, 2016
Reading Raymond Chandler is a bit like wandering through a haunted house. You know that around every corner will be something new, some person popping out with a chainsaw to make you scream. In Chandler's case, it is an incredible description or metaphor or stylized piece of dialogue that will make you scream, and they'll be screams of delight.

Consider this description:

A large, thick-necked Negro was leaning against the end of the bar with pink garters on his shirt sleeves and pink and white suspenders crossing his broad back. He had bouncer written all over him. He put his lifted foot down slowly and turned slowly and stared at us, spreading his feet gently and moving a broad tongue along his lips. He had a battered face that looked as if it had been hit by everything but the back of a dragline. It was scarred, flattened, thickened, checkered, and welted. It was a face that had nothing to fear. Everything had been done to it that anybody could think of.

In one paragraph, Raymond Chandler's genre-defining noir detective Philip Marlowe perfectly describes this bouncer and what he looks like. And when the huge convict, one Moose Malloy picks him and tosses him aside, easy as a lion swats aside a ball of yarn, well... you know you've got a man who's not to be trifled with. And you know you've got a story with more twists n turns than that same ball of yarn. But somehow, someway, Marlowe will manage to unravel it.

I could, perhaps, talk more about how Philip Marlowe has spawned the long-lasting archetype for the gruff, wise-cracking broody and flawed detective with a heart of gold. But I find myself unable to give it justice. Instead let me just quote Raymond Chandler himself:

In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. 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 characters, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a 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 this 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.

Farewell, My Lovely is my favorite Chandler novel. It's got just the right mix of sadness and mania, truth and deception, all wrapped up in Chandler's scintillating prose. So if you're the type of person who loves fine writing, you'll be hard-pressed to find finer than in these pages and a thrilling crime story to boot. That's like having your cake AND eating it too, and that's a rare thing.
Profile Image for Nancy Oakes.
1,939 reviews751 followers
February 7, 2014
After reading two of his novels now, I'm beginning to like Raymond Chandler much more for his writing than for his plots. For anyone who thinks crime fiction has no place in the literary world, the Marlowe novels might make you change your mind. Chandler's an amazing writer when it comes to social commentary, the similes, metaphors and the sharp, electric prose he's famous for, and of course, his superb depiction of the city of angels of the 1940s that is so lifelike you almost feel that you're along with him for the ride. The novels are also a way for Chandler to examine American society of the time.

While I am not much of an analyst when it comes to reading -- a) there are a huge number of analyses of Chandler and his writing all over the place and b)I'm just not good at it so don't pretend to be -- one thing I particularly noticed in my reading was Chandler's use of the color red. To me, where ever Chandler focused on mentioning red, some kind of danger -- emotional or physical -- was nearby. Velma, Malloy's old sweetheart, was a redhead. Anne Riordan, daughter of an ex-police chief and an ally of Marlowe's in this book, is also a redhead. He likes her enough to keep some of the worst details from her and finds himself thinking about how her apartment would be a "nice room to wear slippers in." He watches a red neon light flashing in the hotel room where he stays just before getting on the water taxi to go out to the gambling boat. He meets ex-cop and boat driver Red Noorgan, with "hair the shade of red that glints with gold," who has "Violet eyes. Almost purple. Eyes like a girl, a lovely girl," with skin Marlowe describes as "soft as silk" and a voice that was "soft, dreamy, so delicate for a big man that it was startling. It made me think of another soft-voiced big man I had strangely liked." There are likely more instances, but I found the use of red quite interesting here.

The mystery plots that eventually tie together are a little clunky, but I loved this novel and I wish I had read these books long before now. The writing alone is worth working through the convoluted plotlines, but most of all I love the character of Marlowe. As I found in The Big Sleep, he's a knight of sorts in a city where knights don't really have a place -- and I really like that about him. FYI -- this book was written in the 1940s so you're going to encounter some pretty ugly racial slurs and racist attitudes as you read. That sort of stuff is a bit shocking, but considering the times, not so unusual for back then.

definitely recommended -- now on to the third Marlowe novel.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,230 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.