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The Big Sleep

(Philip Marlowe #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  105,868 ratings  ·  4,717 reviews
"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid....He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.

This is the Code of the Private Eye as defined by Raymond Chandler in his 1944 essay 'The Simple Act of Murder.' Such a man was Philip Marlowe, private eye, an educated, h
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Paperback, 231 pages
Published July 12th 1988 by Vintage Crime (first published February 6th 1939)
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Boy Blue Anyone who knows about sex, death and violence. Some get there much earlier than others. None of those three components are heavy in this book but…moreAnyone who knows about sex, death and violence. Some get there much earlier than others. None of those three components are heavy in this book but they are present.(less)
Michael Grogan In answer to Salley, I believe Philip Marlowe's story chronology goes... 1. The Big Sleep (1939) 2. Farewell, My Lovely (1940) 3. The High Window…moreIn answer to Salley, I believe Philip Marlowe's story chronology goes... 1. The Big Sleep (1939) 2. Farewell, My Lovely (1940) 3. The High Window (1942) 4. The Lady in the Lake (1943) 5. The Little Sister (1949) 6. The Simple Art of Murder (1950) (short story collection) 7. The Long Goodbye (1953) 8. Playback (1958) 9. Poodle Springs (1988)* *Started 1958 by Chandler & completed by Robert B. Parker. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  105,868 ratings  ·  4,717 reviews


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Kirk
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
She was the first thing I saw when I walked into the bookstore. Such a looker I damn near tripped over a stack of calf-high hardbacks set next to a stand of morning papers.
"I'm sorry," she said. "We're not quite open yet."
"That's okay," I told her. "Neither are my eyes."
I could tell right away I wasn't going to win any hosannas by being a smart-aleck.
"I need a book," I continued by way of apology. "Something fun but dark. I'm looking at five hundred miles today, but I'm not in the mood for
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Bill  Kerwin
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing

It is always a pleasure to revisit a good book and find it even better than you remember. But it is humbling to discover that what you once thought was its most obvious defect is instead one of its great strengths. That was my recent experience with Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.

I had read it twice before—once twenty years, once forty years ago—and have admired it ever since for its striking metaphors, vivid scenes, and tough dialogue. Above all, I love it for its hero, Philip Marlowe, the cl
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Alejandro
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, detective, romance
A killing reading!


PAINT IT BLACK

A nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy.

That was the line that hook me when I watched the classic film adaptation, the one produced in 1946, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

While I loved the whole movie, that scene between Marlowe (Bogart) and the character of General Sternwood (Charles Waldron) at the glasshouse (in the beginning of the story) was what hooked me. It’s a wonderful dialogue, full of vices, smoking and d
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Brina
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, mystery
Raymond Chandler first published The Big Sleep in 1939, introducing us to the world of Philip Marlowe. A modern, noir like detective story, The Big Sleep changed the genre from passive interactions to action packed thrills between the private eye and criminals. Set in 1930s Los Angeles, then a sleepy town controlled by the mob as much as the police, The Big Sleep is a non stop action thriller.

General Sherwood has hired private eye detective Philip Marlowe to solve the mystery of the whereabouts
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Matthew
Reflections on The Big Sleep

- Classic hard-boiled detective fiction at it's finest. Every stereotype, every cliched phrase, it's all there and it is glorious. If you are looking for dames and gumshoes and sawbucks and swapping lead then look no further. Almost every page had a quotable line that had me smirking.

- This book is set in a different time. If you do not remember this, you may be upset or offended by the content. These characters are uncouth and indelicate. Several times during the boo
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Dan Schwent
The 2011-2012 re-read...
A paralyzed millionaire, General Sternwood, hires Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe to have a talk with a blackmailer with his hooks in his daughter. But what does his daughter's missing husband, Rusty Regan, have to do with it? Marlowe's case will get him entangled in a web of pornography and gambling from which he may never escape...

For the last few years, me and noir detective fiction have gone together as well as strippers and c-section scars. When the Pulp Ficti
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Evgeny
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review updated on February 26, 2016

A group read with the following people:
Erin, Dan 2.0, Steve, Delee. Please let me know if I missed somebody.


A crippled millionaire with rapidly failing health hires Philip Marlowe to investigate seemingly simple blackmail case involving one of his daughters. The cynical PI charges only $25 a day plus expenses. For this money he got shot at several times, was knocked out by a blow in his head, met quite a few dead people and helped some of them meet their early
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James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Edited March, 2019: I've just finished reading The Annotated Big Sleep, edited by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Dean Rizzuto. For whatever reason, this is simply included as another edition of the novel rather than a separate work in its own right, and the only way I was able to find it was to use the ISBN number, which is 978-0-8041-6888-5. It brought up the correct edition, but when I clicked on it, GR took me to my original review of the novel itself.

I really enjoyed the annotated ve
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Kemper
There’s a story regarding the movie version of The Big Sleep that I love, and if it isn’t true, it should be. Supposedly, while working on adapting the book the screenwriters (William Faulkner & Leigh Brackett) couldn’t figure out who killed one of the characters. So they called Raymond Chandler, and after thinking about it for a while, Chandler admitted that he’d completely forgotten to identify the killer of this person in the book and had no idea who did it. Since no one complained about ...more
Madeline
Okay, so it wasn't bad. There's lots of fistfights and shooting and dames, and our detective hero is appropriately jaded and tight-lipped. The bad guys are crazy, the women are freaks in both the streets and the sheets, and there's a subplot involving a pornography racket. Everyone talks in 30's-tastic slang and usually the reader has no idea what everyone keeps yelling about. It's a violent, fast-paced, garter-snapping (the Depression equivalent of bodice-ripping, I imagine) detective thriller, ...more
Orsodimondo
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: americana, noir
UNO CHE LAVA LA BIANCHERIA SPORCA DEGLI ALTRI
Questo è un libro che ho letto molti anni fa, nel periodo in cui iniziavo a realizzare un sogno coltivato a lungo.
Un buon motivo per tenerlo nel cuore.
Ma, certo, non l’unico: ancora prima del ricordo, conta che sia bello e prezioso.
A suo modo, è un autentico capolavoro.

description
Eterni e indimenticabili, Humphrey Bogart e Lauren Bacall

Noir. In versione hard boiled.
Introduce Philip Marlowe, l’archetipo del detective privato, il prototipo del private eye.

Marlo
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Michael
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a classic noir novel, yet what elevates it above the ordinary, for me, is that it's also a song about Los Angeles, a place I once called home. LA presents many surfaces for many people--to see and be seen, to fantasize and be the objects of fantasy. But Chandler gets at the dark underside of it all in a way that few writers do. He sees the city in its stark white light and also in its shadows, he sees the glory and the rottenness and the flimsiness of the city's facades. It's a love song ...more
Stephen
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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4.0 stars. This was the first noir crime fiction book that I ever read and I don't think I could have found a much better place to start. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the genre, but decided to test the waters with this classic that introduced the world to the iconic private detective Philip Marlowe. I am very glad I did.

This is a fun, fast read and I was immediately sucked in by the superb dialogue, which was both politically incorrect and just slid off the page and into your head.
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The
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Ahmad Sharabiani
599. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe #1), Raymond Chandler
Private investigator Philip Marlowe is called to the home of the wealthy and elderly General Sternwood, in the month of October. He wants Marlowe to deal with an attempt by a bookseller named Arthur Geiger to blackmail his wild young daughter, Carmen. She had previously been blackmailed by a man named Joe Brody. Sternwood mentions his other, older daughter Vivian is in a loveless marriage with a man named Rust
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Jason Koivu
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
What style! Holy Moses! Chandler writes with a purpose: to put you right in the shit. In The Big Sleep he writes with the economy of biting words that surrounds Philip Marlowe, a detective whose seen the hardbitten world, with the street's lexicon.

Hardboiled? Certainly. But I've read some hardboiled stuff that was boiled down to a tasteless mass. This stuff's full of flavor, bitter and sometimes bittersweet.

You've seen the movie, now read the book. They're similar in style, but the story diffe
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Andrew Smith
I’m late to this particular party. Very late. I’ve long enjoyed American crime fiction but my diet has mostly been that of contemporary novels. Writers like Lawrence Block, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke have kept me entertained for endless hours. But I’ve seldom delved further back in time to the heyday of the hard-boiled mysteries. I did try Hammett once but I confess I didn’t much enjoy the experience. So it was with a slight sense of unease that I set about exploring the world of Philip M ...more
William2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 20-ce, fiction, us
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Since I've been reading a lot of detective-type urban fantasy lately, I decided to pick up one of the original texts of the genre, just to see what it was like.

Chandler wrote this back in 1939, and the book itself holds up remarkably well even though it's been 70 years.

It's very readable. Some of the slang is a little opaque, sure, but not nearly as much as you'd think.

And some of the intuitive leaps Philip Marlow takes are a little difficult to grasp. But I'm not sure if that's because

1) th
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Duane
Chandler's 1939 classic crime novel is the first that featured Phillip Marlowe, the famous private detective who would appear in 7 of Chandler's novels. Humphrey Bogart brought him to life on the silver screen in the 1946 production of The Big Sleep. Even though it was written almost 80 years ago, it's not dated, meaning it has an almost modern feel to it. Good writing almost always equals good novel.
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noir fans
★★★☆☆

“I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

Yeah, so? What do want a medal or something? Sorry to break it to you, Phil, but for rest of us that’s known as the status quo. Well, maybe not the shaved part, but damn, it’s not yet noon and you’re bragging about being sober?

At least I know now who to blame for all those hard-drinking, wisecracking PIs that followed. It’s no wonder future authors would attempt to emulate this guy—he’s the very definition of cool. An
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John Culuris
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
In any poll of the greatest private eye novels ever written, there is a great chance that the top 5 would contain The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and the Chandler trifecta of The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, and The Long Goodbye. The fifth? If you stay in the deep past than possibly The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald (thereby by keeping the genre’s triumvirate together), or--depending on your level of tolerance--Red Harvest (giving the top 5 to only two writer, albeit geniuses in thei ...more
Julie Ehlers
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Reading a hard-boiled detective novel long past the point when I'd already learned lots of things about the hard-boiled detective novel was an interesting experience. Marlowe's blunt, quippy language, his day drinking, and his over-the-top descriptions of women delighted me, not just on their own merits but simply because it was fun to read something that was exactly the way I'd always heard it would be. On the other hand, there were some elements of the book that surprised me. How much of the a ...more
StoryTellerShannon
“Tall, aren't you?" she said.
"I didn't mean to be."
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.”
― Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep



A masterpiece of flowing words.

Marlowe investigates two daughters on the road to Perdition which leads to darker things than expected.

There's a lot to say but many others have already said it. They're right. It's brilliant. I prefer the novel but I listened to
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William
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting experience, and I must admit that I enjoyed the Bogart & Bacall movie much more than the book. (It was fine-tuned by William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett, after all)

The early chapters are a bit stilted and forced, but with an almost too-snappy dialogue identical to the movie.

20% ... After a while, Chandler loosens up a bit, and begins to shine. Great stuff now.

Wow, I am witnessing Chandler find his true voice. What a feeling!

"You—a—you—a—" her throat jammed. I thought
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Steve
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
This isn’t really a review so much as a quick word of appreciation for a book I read decades ago. I suspect before Chandler and his ilk came along, crime fiction was much softer boiled. It also seems to have been a precursor for some excellent contemporary crime drama. Might The Sopranos, The Wire, and countless others owe a debt of gratitude to books like this for their intricate plotting, their colorful language, their stylized writing, and that definitive noir feel?

Over time I seem to have fu
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Paul E. Morph
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The heat in this disreputable part of the old town was oppressive and anything but sultry. All I wanted to do was shed the sweat-clinging skin of the day and stand under a freezing shower for about a week. If I followed that up with a few slugs of bourbon with some ice cold cubes swimming in them, well, that was nobody's business but mine.

She wouldn't have it, though. She stared at me from where I'd discarded her on the beat up couch with a burning reprimand sizzling in her non-existent eyes. Sh
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Sidharth Vardhan
This is your stereotypical crime Noir - all about people back-stabbing each-other. There is a detective who gets all the cool dialogues. Almost all the women fall in category of femme fatale who can be assumed to be wearing, if they are wearing anything, a deep cut dress or a night dress or better still a still a deep-cut night dress. They are all trying to seduce our hero, who may accept or reject their proposal as the case may be. You can be sure there will be drug dealers in there, somewhere ...more
Forrest
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will someone please purge Peter Falk's voice from my head? I swear the man learned how to speak by having this book read to him as a child.

Again, shame on me for not having read yet another American classic. I've always been a fan of noir in movies or on television, but had not read much at all, until recently. So I set out to make up for my un-American pinko commie ways and read a red-blooded American mystery. Now I honestly can't tell whether Raymond Chandler loved or hated America.

I can tell
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Emma
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, noir
'What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that...You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now.'

So concludes Philip Marlowe at the end of this case. I'm really glad I didn't know the story beforehand, having never watched the movie. I didn't see whodunnit u
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David Schaafsma
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
“You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that, oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.”--Chandler

Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. He published some short stories, honing his craft, and finally made his debut; The Big Sleep was published in 1939,
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3,211 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
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Other books in the series

Philip Marlowe (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)
  • The High Window (Philip Marlowe, #3)
  • The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe, #4)
  • The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5)
  • The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6)
  • Playback (Philip Marlowe, #7)
  • Poodle Springs (Philip Marlowe, #8)
  • The Raymond Chandler Omnibus: The Big Sleep / Farewell My Lovely / The High Window / The Lady in the Lake
  • The  Second Chandler Omnibus
  • Todo Marlowe
“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.” 266 likes
“It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.” 220 likes
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