It may have been a mistake to tune into the Bogart-Bacall film shortly before reading this, because their images kept hovering over the picture Chandler was making. 'The Big Sleep', film or book, is an unquestionable classic, but the fact remains that Philip Marlowe gets kicked around a lot more than I can ever imagine Humphrey Bogart, P.I., allowing.
His short stories laid down some important groundwork but here Chandler's convoluted, but well-built, plots have the breathing room they require. There's no need to go into specifics, if you know the least thing about noir crime novels you have a good idea about what goes down here: seedy blondes and gambling dens, the threat of scandal, desperation, and similies and metaphors stacked like...oh but you see where I'm going. Chandler elevates it to an art form. It's not perfection yet, but he's well on his way.
Next: 'Farewell, My Lovely'
Review of 'Early Novels and Pulp Stories'