Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5)” as Want to Read:
The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Little Sister

(Philip Marlowe #5)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  11,016 Ratings  ·  556 Reviews
A movie starlet with a gangster boyfriend and a pair of siblings with a shared secret lure Marlowe into the less than glamorous and more than a little dangerous world of Hollywood fame. Chandler's first foray into the industry that dominates the company town that is Los Angeles.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 1949)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Little Sister, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lucie Boxer dogs belonging to that old filmmaking mogul who appears briefly somewhere in the book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dan Schwent
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A woman from a small Kansas town hires Philip Marlowe to find her missing brother. What Marlowe finds is himself ensnared in a web of drugs, blackmail, and murder...

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

It may be because it's been a few months since I've read one of Raymond Chandler's oddly poetic noir masterpieces but I liked The Little
Glenn Russell
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"She was a small, neat, rather prissy-looking girl with primly smooth brown hair and rimless glasses. She had no make-up, no lipstick and no jewelry. The rimless glasses gave her that librarian's look." But, Marlowe, you surely must know what she would look like without the glasses, wearing her hair loose and a little make-up and jewelry. Beware! A femme fatale in hiding. This has always remained my very favorite Raymond Chandler novel.

And as far as The Little Sister goes, there is more than ju
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the late '40s when RC was sick of Hollywood and
depressed about his wife's health (she was 17 years older),
RC was fretful and feeling more insolent than usual. So he used Movieland as his setting. The titular sister, from the midwest, lands in SoCal looking for her missing brother as, we later learn, they both want to blackmail their Almost Famous Sis who's in Pix. From real life RC borrows a scandal involving mobster Bugsy Siegel who was allowed out of prison for a few days to visit
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Little Sister (Philip Marlowe, #5), Raymond Chandler, Esmail Fassih (translator)
The Little Sister is a 1949 novel by Raymond Chandler, his fifth featuring the private investigator Philip Marlowe. The story is set in Los Angeles in the late 1940's. The novel centers on the younger sister of a Hollywood starlet and has several scenes involving the film industry. It was partly inspired by Chandler's experience working as a screenwriter in Hollywood and his low opinion of the industry and most o
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book begins with an exciting chase scene: Philip Marlowe tries to catch a fly... Actually, I am kidding. The PI, not having any case to work on is so bored that he starts hunting aforementioned fly. When a girl shows up on his door he takes her case for a measly sum of $20. The girl came from Nowhere, Kansas (the actual name of the place is Manhattan - and I do not mean NYC location) and she wants to locate her brother who supposedly lives somewhere in LA. The routine investigation leads Mar ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mostly a masterpiece: 5-stars for the first 2/3 of the book, his best ever work, which then sadly rushes into the overly complex morass of a resolution. Chandler's final denouement of the villains and their actions seems rushed in places, and unclear in others. You will eventually follow and understand, but it's a lot of work.

Marlowe expresses this towards the end:
Sometimes when I’m low I try to reason it out. But it gets too complicated. The whole damn case was that way. There was never a point
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This one is very hard to rate. So let's call it 4.5 stars. There are flaws. The plot really *is* too complex, as Marlowe himself admits. And at times, especially in the first half, there is an even deeper problem. Marlowe is (always has been and always will be; see Chandler's letter to D.J. Ibberson, dated April 19, 1951) 38, but the author himself at the time of writing was already 61 -- and, quite obviously, none too happy about it. That discrepancy of voice is sometimes too apparent. On the o ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Wonderful what Hollywood will do to a nobody. It will make a radiant glamour queen out of a drab little wench who ought to be ironing a truck driver’s shirts, a he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesan, married six times to six millionaires and so blasé and decadent at the end of i ...more
Tim Orfanos
To πιο πρωτότυπο, ψυχογραφικό και 'καυστικό' αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα του Τσάντλερ (1949), το οποίο 'εγκαινιάζει' τα εγκλήματα με παγοκόφτη εμπνέοντας, ενδεχομένως, καί άλλους συγγραφείς όπως τον Ross McDonald στη 'Νεκροφόρα με τις ρίγες' (1962), αλλά και τον Τσάρλς Όσμπορν στο πολύκροτο βιβλίο του, 'Βασικό Ένστίκτο' (1992).

Την εποχή που το έγραψε ο Τσάντλερ είχε ξεκινήσει τη συνεργασία του με παραγωγούς και σκηνοθέτες του Χόλυγουντ, οι οποίοι τού είχαν αναθέσει τη συγγραφή σεναρίων για φιλόδοξες
Albus Eugene Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
L’ora, il luogo e l’essere amato non si trovano mai insieme …
«Stava guardando fuori dalla finestra, che era aperta e offriva la meravigliosa visione del parcheggio della polizia e del retro d’un cartellone pubblicitario.»
Una piccola storia ignobile come tante, per dirla con Francesco, ma narrata dal ... Maestro.
Una ragazzina di provincia che cerca il fratello scomparso tra le colline di Los Angeles. Philip Marlowe si incarica di ritrovarlo, ma sbatterà il muso nella parte più oscura della sfol
The usual Marlowe goodness with more flirtatious, suspicious women than usual. Narrated by Elliot Gould.

MY GRADE: B plus.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This novel used similes that were long and round and thin, like a rattailed file that has been ground smooth.

This novel is a sort of sad whisper, like a mortitian asking for a down payment.
This novel had a low lingering voice with a sort of moist caress in it like a damp bath towl.
This novel felt like a nice leg.
This novel was brought up straight, like the wicked foreman of the Lazy Q.
This novel sounded like somebody putting aways saucepans.
This novel flashed like lightening.
This novel burned li
Paul E. Morph
This is yet another wonderful hard boiled, crime noir novel featuring the original gumshoe, Philip Marlowe. He's hired to find a young woman's missing brother but, this being a Chandler novel, nothing is ever that simple.

I think this may have been my favourite of the bunch, so far. I really liked how well Chandler expressed his protagonist's loneliness, ennui and overall vulnerability. I feel like I know Marlowe a lot better now, in a way that I didn't from reading the previous four books. Also,
My, was Raymond in a foul mood when he wrote this. Fine by me as I was in one when I read it.

I see this book's copped a bit on goodreads. Unfair. Totally unfair. If you get the drift, the guy's got the shits and he is looking at life from the wrong end of the telescope, he does such a good job of that.

There are two types of people in the world. The ones for whom money is everything: they need to get as much of it as possible, take it willynilly from whereever they can, make sure nobody else gets
Nicholas Karpuk
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dames, Broads, Down on their luck joes, flat foots, PIs, hired goons
It was either the third or the fourth time a dame, in a fit of histrionics kissed Philip Marlowe that I became slightly exasperated.

Don't get me wrong, Raymond Chandler is a good writer, his prose is packed with cleverness to the point of overflowing, the dialogue snaps, and everything has the cool sleazy vibe of old time Hollywood.

But even one of the characters points out how baffling it is that ladies just seem to want to lock lips with sadsack detective Philip Marlowe.

Otherwise, the writing
Mohammad Ali

کلا با شیوه ی رفع و رجوع معما در این داستان حال نکردم؛ نکات گنگ در استدلالای مارلو کم نبود. البته وقتی آخر سر پیچیدگی طرح رو مد نظر قرار می دادی نمی شد لذت نبری از ایده اش

اما این وسط یه عاملی وجود دارد که - سوای خود داستان - خیلی تأثیر گذاشته تو این به دل ننشستن: ترجمه. اسماعیل فصیح هر اشتباهی که در یک ترجمه ممکن باشه انجام داده: الف. جرح و تعدیل؛ ب. نادرستی ترجمه؛ ج. عدم انسجام منطقی حاصل کار. منظور من از این سه تا به ترتیب اینه: 1) مترجم از اصل کتاب عباراتی کم کرده یا به اون عباراتی افزوده؛ جا
Nancy Oakes
I love this series. Absolutely. If modern American crime writers could write like this, my tbr pile would be beyond overflowing.

If you want a little more about this book than what I've written here, you can click here and read about it at my reading journal. Otherwise, read on.

Like all of the Chandler novels so far, The Little Sister has a plot that is once again overly convoluted and overly complex, but Chandler is in rare form here, having Marlowe spill his guts about the city, his job, the
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 5 in Chandler's Philip Marlowe series, and a strong novel this one. It has the usual smart-mouth Marlowe with his low opinion of himself, with his clever thoughts and the complexity of a story he takes time to work out. One of the things I love about Marlowe is how he gets it wrong, or realises too late (as he sinks to the ground, usually), but comes back strong.

In this story, Marlowe's client - She was a small, neat, rather prissy-looking girl with primly smooth brown hair and rimless gl
Quentin Wallace
This one had my head spinning. I have read some of Chandler's short stories before, but I believe this was the first novel I'd read from him. The plot was a little too complex and convoluted for me, as by the time it was over I was just glad to be done. It started out interesting enough, and of course it's very well written hard-boiled fiction. I just lost track of the many characters and their motivations. Phillip Marlowe is the quintessential private eye, and a great character. Really, all of ...more
Siavash Fathali
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
بدک نبود.
پیچشهای جالبی داشت که البته به نظر من زیاده از حد و ناملموس بود.
هرچند، نشانگر این هم بود که چشمه الهام نویسنده خشک شده، چرا که بسیاری از گره ها و معما ها و یا حل معماها، خواننده را عجیب به یاد خواب گِران و بانوی دریاچه میاندازد.
به هر روی، مارلو هست و از کلاسیک های سبک جدید ژانر معمایی و خواندنش خالی از لطف نیست.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sin duda Chandler es una gran creador de personajes. Qué grande Marlowe. Este libro lo tiene todo, y eso que yo no soy muy de policiaca. :)
Joel Lacivita
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another fantastic Raymond Chandler book!! This time Marlow goes into Hollywood and we get his take on the the movie business in the late 1940's. His prose is top notch and one of a kind. I marvel at the consistency of the writing and constantly colorful analogies and metaphors. One of my all time favorite writers.

The Little Sister deals with a young woman who is trying to find her brother and of course Marlow is hired to do the job. He works his way through a labyrinth of high life sleaze tr
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rambling plot sometimes hard to follow, BUT the P.I. Marlowe bittersweet voice teems throughout. Famous metaphors work well. The wrap-up is pretty decent. This book skewers the Hollywood glitterati.
Gonzalo Oyanedel
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poniendo la trastienda de Hollywood como trasfondo, Chandler aprovecha sus experiencias personales para realizar un ejercicio maduro y bien presentado. El clásico caso aparentemente trivial que lleva a abrir las puertas de historias que esconden cicatrices, con personajes limpiamente esbozados y diálogos esculpidos. Una de las mejores entregas del detective Marlowe.
Marlowe Is Back Again, but in a Rather Bad Mood

In 1949, after a spell of almost six years, Raymond Chandler had his hero Philip Marlowe re-enter the stage in The Little Sister, a weird case of multiple blackmailing and mob murder. It all starts in a seemingly harmless way when Orfamay Quest, a rather prim-looking, mousy young woman asks him to find out the whereabouts of her brother Orrin. Marlowe, in a strange way fascinated and simultaneously revolted by the demure and holier-than-thou Orfamay
There were so many characters in this that about the 76% point I just lost the main threads of the case looking for Orrin. Everything else of mixed composite overcame the core. And this one was super mean in tone. The women were throwing themselves at Marlowe and rather nasty plus to each other, IMHO. To a point that didn't make sense to me.

Because this has some excellent phrasing and even within the overblown dialect of snark they stand out, it is more toward a 4 star. But Hollywood is so dista
Cathy DuPont
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noir fans, hard boiled fans
Turn left; now go 3.15 miles south and make a U-turn back .34 miles; go right 5.34 miles; and on and on. That was how this hard-boiled noir classic read for me from about half way through to the end. When I thought I had everything in its right place, who did what to whom and why, everything got jumbled again and I’m back to square one and not sure who did what in the last 20 pages I read. It was a very complex novel but an excellent example of my favorite genre from one of my favorite writers a ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mini Review

The most cynical book in Chandler's oeuvre, the quick wit of the initial books in the series had been modified into an unflinching bitterness. It's almost as though the gloves are off, Chandler is weary off all the saccharine hypocrisy of the world and he calls it out as he sees it and it makes for spectacular reading.

The corrupt city with its cynical cops, decadent dames with their starlet sisters and off course Marlowe himself round off an impressive cast. The plot is turned and twi
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the way Raymond Chandler writes--his books have an easy flow, and every so often you run into a great simile, like "The smell of old dust hung in the air as flat and stale as a football interview," or "She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me." If you just surrender to the flow, you can overlook his ridiculous characterizations of women, and the great unwieldiness of his plots.

I read two summaries of the plot after I'd finish
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marlowe embroiled in 40's LA noir.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Change few things 2 17 Nov 14, 2015 07:53PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Little Sister 1 2 Sep 28, 2012 09:12PM  
Death of the American Dream? 2 25 Sep 08, 2012 11:49AM  
  • The Continental Op
  • The Ivory Grin
  • Nightfall
  • The Real Cool Killers (Harlem Cycle, #2)
  • Rendezvous in Black
  • Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.

In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In

Other books in the series

Philip Marlowe (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)
  • The High Window (Philip Marlowe, #3)
  • The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe, #4)
  • 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
“I hung up. It was a good start, but it didn’t go far enough. I ought to have locked the door and hidden under the desk.” 41 likes
“She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.” 41 likes
More quotes…