I last read this book, I think, about 14 years ago when I got the New American Library complete novels of Chandler set. I’ve seen the movie since, although it took me two years to get through it after hanging up on the extended dance remix argument about impotence between the Wades. The film version took certain, erm, liberties with the story, I could tell based on basic WWRCD instinct. Now that I’ve refreshed my reading, I’m ready to go back to try the film again to set in concrete the reasons why it’s inferior.
A later novel in the Philip Marlowe pantheon, this book deals with Marlowe striking up a friendship with a veteran. When the veteran flees after his wife is murdered, Marlowe helps him out and is drawn into the circle of his friend’s neighbors and their moneyed misdeeds. It’s a typical Chandler sort of plot, for what that’s worth: a little convoluted, perhaps, but at least all the corpses are accounted for this time around.
But the texture of the language. There’s something to it, of course, something that differentiates it from the other pulp writers and other purveyors of paperback sensibilities. MacDonald and McBain dabble in it, but Chandler mastered it. Parker touched it before writing for the talkies ruined him.
Reminds me why I wanted to write this sort of thing.