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The Lady in the Lake

(Philip Marlowe #4)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  18,044 ratings  ·  1,014 reviews
A couple of missing wives—one a rich man's and one a poor man's—become the objects of Marlowe's investigation. One of them may have gotten a Mexican divorce and married a gigolo and the other may be dead. Marlowe's not sure he cares about either one, but he's not paid to care.
Paperback, 266 pages
Published August 12th 1988 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1943)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  18,044 ratings  ·  1,014 reviews


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Henry Avila
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking down into the deep waters of the small lake there is movement a hand... the murky image is unclear, concealing a secret which gives this book its title, The Lady in the Lake, Marlowe watches, his stomach is...
not joyful, however appearances can be deceiving. The brutish husband Bill Chess, the village drunk is arrested for the crime, the victim his mysterious mate an outsider, Muriel has been wet for a month, so well...
the difficulty in identification is very unpleasant for the poor lo
...more
David Gustafson
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have decided to take a break from my usual obsession with history to take a deep plunge into several of the classic noir detective novels by Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett. A few of these will be re-reads.
Why noir? America is evenly divided between two fanatical ideologies so I guess the noir genre suits my cynical nature as an outcast, literary hermit who despises the hypocritical dishonesty and corruption of both political franchises as well as the obedient myrmidons
...more
Joe Valdez
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
As research for a novel I'm writing, I'm reading detective fiction and ripping off everything of value. My story takes place in L.A. of the early '90s, but I'm traveling to all eras and hiring all manner of sleuth to serve as tour guide thorugh the City of Angels. Working my way backwards in time through the Philip Marlowe series, next up is The Lady in the Lake. Published in 1943, I found myself less interested in who shot whom from where and why this time and allowed Chandler's slowly aged and ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Raindrops on strippers and crisp apple gunshots
Bright copper floozies and warm woolly whatnots,
Muscular gentlemen tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

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

Finding those corpses with wide ugly gashes
And no nose at all and not many eyelashes
And Chandler and Marlowe and slightly left wings
These are a few of my favou
...more
William
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5-Stars! WOW! A masterpiece. The very best Marlowe of all.

Great pacing, wonderful progression of events and clues, just enough snappy dialogue, delicious "detective-as-philosopher" quotations, genuine tension and suspense, a sprinkling of red herrings... This is the whole enchilada! Awesome!

I brushed my hair and looked at the grey in it. There was getting to be plenty of grey in it. The face under the hair had a sick look. I didn’t like the face at all. I went back to the desk .... I sat very s
...more
David Putnam
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite of Chandlers. Might be because I was a San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy for two decades and the story is about Big Bear Lake. (a lot like Phantoms by Dean Koonts that's set in Wrightwood). The voice, the prose in all Raymond Chandler books is what carries the story. That's why he continues to be revered and copied through the ages. Just writing about this book here makes me want to go back and read it again (for the umpteenth time).
David Putnam author of the Brun
...more
James Thane
Raymond Chandler's fourth novel to feature Los Angeles P.I. Philip Marlowe involves two missing wives. One is the independently wealthy spouse of Derace Kingsley, an executive in a large firm. His wife, Crystal, who disappeared a month ago after sending him a telegram from Texas announcing that she was divorcing him and marrying her boyfriend, Chris Lavery, who has a reputation as a Don Juan.

Kingsley isn't particularly concerned about that. He doesn't really love his wife; he knows that she pla
...more
Dan Schwent
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
A rich man hires Phillip Marlowe to find his wife. The trail leads to a resort town and another dead woman. Where is Crystal Kingsley? And who killed Muriel Chess? And what did Chris Lavery or Dr. Almore have to do with it?

The Lady in the Lake is a tale of lies, double crosses, cheating woman, murder, and a shop-soiled Galahad named Phillip Marlowe caught in the middle of it. Chander and Marlowe set the standards for slick-talking detectives for generations to come and Marlowe is in fine form in
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe, #4), Raymond Chandler
The Lady in the Lake is a 1943 detective novel by Raymond Chandler featuring, as do all his major works, the Los Angeles private investigator Philip Marlowe. Notable for its removal of Marlowe from his usual Los Angeles environs for much of the book, the novel's complicated plot initially deals with the case of a missing woman in a small mountain town some 80 miles (130 km) from the city. The book was written shortly after the attack on
...more
Evgeny
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A rich man asked Philip Marlowe to find his missing wife who presumably ran away to Mexico to get a divorce, but disappeared since then. The search quickly led the private detective to a dead body of another woman with seemingly no connection to the first one, except for them being neighbors. The number of dead bodies rapidly increases as Marlowe tries to get to the bottom of a very complicated mystery while dodging cold-blooded killers, corrupted cops (the level of corruption in Bay City seems ...more
Sketchbook
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Crystal, Muriel, Mildred, Adrienne and Florence are the women displayed in Chandler's Hall of Mirrors, which begins with the simple case of a missing wife and quickly develops into four murders, plus a Dr Feelgood who feeds his patients drugs; and corrupt cops in Bay City, or Santa Monica, Ca., that Chandler knew all too well. I think he invented the cliche of a coshed character who wakes up with a dead body in the same room. Here it's a stiff femme fatale on the bed and she's only wearing nylon ...more
Paul E. Morph
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering silmite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king!

Dennis: Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!

The fact that I can't resist a Monty Python quote aside, the titu
...more
Martin Clark
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My fifth book read thanks to a Goodreads suggestion, this one from Alan Firestone. I'd never read any Chandler before, and I loved this, especially how tight and smart and stylized it all is. High marks from start to finish.
Dave
Something Is In The Water

Chandler is such a giant in the mystery genre that sometimes you forget how limited his output was, just seven full novels in his lifetime, a manuscript completed by another writer decades later, and a slew of short stories. Of course, it pretty much all revolves around his Private eye, Philip Marlowe. Lady in the Lake is the fourth novel in the Marlowe canon.

Marlowe seems to always get hired by rich folks with rich folks’ problems. And that’s maybe cause as someone onc
...more
RJ from the LBC
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The search for a rich man's missing wife takes Marlowe out of Los Angeles to Bay City (Santa Monica) and Puma Point (Big Bear) with a brief stop in Riverside too. As usual, the plot is more tangled than a kindergartner's shoelaces, but the dialogue is snappy and witty and the characters are as colorful as a big box of crayons (the REALLY big box, with the built-in sharpener). Chandler's prose has truly matured by this fourth installment in the Philip Marlowe series but the ending is a bit too pa ...more
Darwin8u
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I should probably slow down on calling Raymond Chander a god. Novelists who write so damn well (and there are few of those) must sometimes tire of both hyperbole and the undersell too. Look. This isn't my favorite Chandler or my favorite Marlowe, and the Great and Glorious Chandler doesn't deviate too far from his script (Rich, difficult clients >> wise-cracking PI >> dame >> cops >> drinks >> California >> dead bodies >> Marlowe close to the line >> Marlowe over the line >> Marlowe wraps it all ...more
Jamie
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This well may be Chandler at his very best! He not only does everything he usually does so incredibly well - the hard hitting, gritty and wisecracking Marlowe, the wonderfully sharp and evocative prose, the superb pacing - but the plot, a missing person case / murder mystery, is perhaps the most sophisticated and suspenseful of all the Marlowe tales. Full of twists and turns, and the largest and best developed cast of conniving, shifty and treacherous characters I've seen from Chandler. Outstand ...more
Shannon
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
More Marlowe with double-crossing and the usual twists and turns that I like/love in this series.

Audio narration by Elliot Gould.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.
Toby
May 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Marlowe but not as I remember him.

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

Aside from the fact that I knew exactly how the narrative would play out thanks to the mighty obvious use of the genre staple of portraits and doubles meaning every incident in between felt like a lazy attempt at placing red herrings there was so little in the way of great dialogue and internal monologue
...more
Brandon
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, noir, fiction, 2014
"Police business," he said almost gently, "is a hell of a problem. It's a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men . So we have to work with what we get— and we get things like this."

A man’s wife is missing and Philip Marlowe is hired to find her. When his search leads him to the discovery of a different dead woman, the self-proclaimed "Murder-A-Day Marlowe" has questions and by God, people are going to answer them
...more
Mish
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Michael
I came to reading this book because I needed something to read for my Literary Exploration challenge, Hardboiled genre. Never having read this type of genre before, I had refer to my bookish friend, Michael Kitto, for help. He recommended The Lady in the Lake as an introduction too the well known and respected Private Investigator, Philip Marlowe, and to this genre. I can see from several reviews that this was a very popular choice for first timers like me.

In this book Marlowe was employed by a
...more
Bill
I probably said this when I read The Big Sleep but I don't know why it has taken me so long to enjoy Raymond Chandler. But I'll say it again, I enjoyed The Lady in the Lake very much. Chandler wasn't a prolific writer; he only wrote 7 novels. Lady in the Lake was his 4th Philip Marlowe novel.

Marlowe is hired by wealthy Derace Kingsley to find his wife. Not a happy marriage, she had gone to their cabin up in the mountains (Little Fawn Lake) above LA and then sent him a telegram to let him know sh
...more
Tony
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been too long since I read any Chandler, it really is superior material. I kept noting phrases, ones which flowed off the consciousness and made me wonder why I can’t use language like this.

I settled on just the one to highlight, it pretty much sums the book up:

“I sat very still and listened to the evening grow quiet outside the open windows. And very slowly I grew quiet with it.”

There are far more descriptive and eloquent pieces, and clever ones, but this lights my candle.

Magical!
Valerie
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this little treasure when I was browsing through the local public library. This book is my introduction to PI Philip Marlowe, who worked in and throughout the Los Angeles area. The book was originally published in 1943, and I must say I was just astounded by Chandler's writing style. He uses a lot of arcane terminology such as the word "perambulator" to describe people who are basically window shopping or sight seeing at Puma Lake where he ended up because he was hired by a busines ...more
Brenda
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Brenda by: Michael
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe was hired by Derace Kingsley to find his missing wife, Crystal – she had been missing for a month after contacting him from their cabin via telegram to say she was going to divorce him and marry Chris Lavery. Kingsley was concerned enough to want her found – Marlowe started his investigation not realizing how deeply he would become involved, how many webs would wind their way throughout quite a number of lives.

With a little help from a country sheriff by the n
...more
Carla Remy
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. This was my third time reading The Lady in the Lake. I find it engaging and effective, more than some of the other Philip Marlowe books even. The mystery seems convoluted then simple and it gets me every time (though it's fairly easy to guess, I suppose). I never try to guess the solution, and memory is funny - the way I'll remember so much of the story but not the end.
Steffan
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book now three times in as many months. More times in as many years. The first time I read it, years ago, I was nineteen. Much older now, I had to come back with a different perspective and try to see what Raymond Chandler was really up to. Entertaining the reader wasn't the point. Sending Marlowe into another violent beat down, like some of the other books, wasn't the point. Chasing down the mystery man, or woman, wasn't the point either.

I can say this. Raymond Chandler, for thos
...more
Nancy Oakes
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it

Cutting right to the chase, the fourth novel in Chandler's Marlowe series begins with a missing wife. Degrace Kingsley, a businessman in the perfume business, hires Marlowe to find his wife Crystal. Although they'd been "washed up for years," Kingsley needs Marlowe to find her to make sure she hasn't done anything scandalous to reflect back on him. The last time he knew Crystal's actual whereabouts was a month earlier, when she was staying at their cabin up at at Little Fawn Lake at Puma Point.
...more
Pamela Mclaren
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, mysteries
If you love the time period of the 40s and gritty film noir, there is no better storyteller than Raymond Chandler. This is a book where the dames are beautiful but wicked — or dead, the men are big and shifty, and the story is definitely twisted.

This time around, Chandler's independent private eye Philip Marlowe is hired to locate a flighty and missing wife. He tracks her to a small community up in the mountains but the body in the lake is ID'd as the wife of another man, a man who has implied t
...more
Girish
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A delightfully convoluted plot!

Philiph Marlowe gets assigned to trace a rich man's missing wife who is supposed to have run away with a lover. Just that the lover denies it and so starts the investigation that takes him into the woods. In the woods he stumbles upon a caretaker whose wife is also missing. And one body in the lake.

One of the things that strike you about the book is the cynicism and pessimism around people's nature. Almost every character is flawed and lying have a pretty bleak tr
...more
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3,670 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
...more

Other books in the series

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

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