by Raymond Chandler
This was almost Chandler's last novel (as the title might possibly imply). It was one of the longest. Chandler spends some time introducing Terry Lennox to Philip Marlowe. They become offbeat friends and drinking buddies. Then, Terry gets into serious trouble and disappears into Mexico. The story seems almost to end there, just a quarter of the way into this novel. Marlowe, however, goes on to search for missing and drunken author Roger Wade. His wife, Eileen, seems very concerned and then unconcerned for Roger, who appears to be self-destructive and violent. Marlowe, older and more bitter these days, falls in to their little family, getting to know and like Roger and finding Eileen beautiful but cold. One murder seems to tie all of these people together, at least loosely, but Marlowe hasn't been hired to solve anything. The sister of the victim, though, is one point of light for our hero, but here, Chandler's first overt display of sex seems to fall a little flat. There is a vaguely uneasy tone to the book. Chandler sounds bitter in his own advancing years. There is anger and loneliness in the book, as well. Eventually, it is all more than Marlowe bargained for. His own sense of honor in a world that doesn't care seems to get in his way, too. Not a happy ending.
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Also by Chandler: [The High Window] [The Big Sleep] [The Lady in the Lake] [The Little Sister] [Playback] [Farewell, My Lovely]
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[Other books set in California]