A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler

A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler

A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler

A Reader's Guide to Raymond Chandler


The author of such works as The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Lady in the Lake (1943), and The Long Goodbye (1953), Raymond Chandler was one of the most popular mystery writers of his time. This reference is a detailed guide to his works. A chronology and brief biography overview his life, while a section on "Chandler's World" provides alphabetically arranged entries on characters and places in his 7 novels and 25 short stories, summaries of his works, and discussions of key topics in his writings. Appendices provide information about adaptations of his fiction, along with an extensive list of primary and secondary sources for further consultation.


As a work of reference, this volume has two primary goals: first, to help to enrich the discussion and analysis of Chandler's work by scholars and students; second, to make the experience of reading Chandler's work—for anyone—a more informed one. Both goals can be accomplished because this book makes it easier to find connections among Chandler's highly allusive, interconnected novels and short stories. Chandler, as is well known, cannibalized his stories in order to create a number of his novels. This reader's guide, which is unique in Chandler studies, makes tracing that complex act of writerly recycling much simpler.

I begin with a chronology and follow that with a discussion of the patterns in Chandler's life. The great majority of the pages in this book are taken up with an alphabetical listing of the characters, places, and allusions in Chandler's fiction. I finish with a series of appendices: The first is devoted to Marlowe's portrayal on film, television, and radio; the second covers Chandler's work as a screenwriter; the third looks at how others have portrayed Marlowe and Chandler; and the fourth offers an extensive guide to resources.

I discovered Chandler's work when I was thirteen. The origins of this book date from shortly after that time when I realized that I had not a clue about the interrelation among the stories and the novels I was enjoying so much. I wanted to understand Marlowe's history but had no means to do so. I vividly remember, for example, being puzzled as to how two versions of one story, “Red Wind, ” could have different protagonists: John Dalmas and Philip Marlowe. Fast forward a decade to graduate school, where I wanted to do my dissertation on Raymond Chandler's language but was advised (perhaps wisely) that such a project would be job-market suicide, so I detoured for a number of wonderful years into the safer waters of American Transcendentalism.

Now, I'm finally able to write a book on Chandler (a very different one from that which I envisaged when I was a grad student). I hope that it makes the

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