Even granting that 'Playback' was not intended to be the final Marlowe novel, I'm still disappointed. This is it. 'Cause I'm going to be honest, there's no way I'm reading 'Poodle Springs'. The first four chapters actually written by Chandler, perhaps, but that's all.
The building world-weary bitterness of the series, and especially 'The Long Goodbye's elegiac tone could not be sustained, but I didn't fully accept Marlowe's constant lechery. As for the plot...Marlowe is asked to follow an unknown woman to a small California pleasure town and report back to a lawyer. Things become complicated when Marlowe sticks his tongue in her mouth. Other plots of Chandlers may be reduced as glibly, but there were no tangles, often Marlowe is getting by with luck and a hunch that there's more going on than his client is letting on. He must be methodical, he has to investigate. In 'Playback' something is being withheld all right, but that's all there is. Withheld information.
So long, Marlowe, it was great while it lasted.
Previous 'The Long Goodbye'
Next: 'Poodle Springs'
Review of 'Later Novels and Other Writings'