The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 10 November 2003

The High Window

by Raymond Chandler

Mrs. Murdock isn't a very nice lady. Philip Marlowe seems acquainted with the type, though he still doesn't have much patience for her boorish bad temper. She has lost a coin, the Brasher Dubloon, and blames her errant daughter-in-law. She wants her found, and the coin returned. And so she turns to Marlowe. This wouldn't be a mystery novel, though, if Marlowe didn't also turn up a complex undercurrent of nefarious behavior. The missing daughter-in-law is a former entertainer, a shady character herself, who is impatient with lily-livered Leslie Murdock, her husband, and his nasty mother. Leslie is in debt to Morny, the husband of the young woman's friend Linda Conquest, who is also having an affair with Vannier, who may or may not have his own underhanded dealings. Over the course of an astonishingly short time, Marlowe comes across three murders, dirty dealings, and various unpleasant loops of secrets. The book holds together nicely, unlike some of Chandler's more obscure stories. Chandler had a unique gift for witty writing, sharp repartee, and odd references peppering his language. His Marlowe is a self-deprecating tough-guy, left with a vague distaste at the behavior of the people around him. Chandler is one of the true originators of the genre. Sue Grafton's style owes a lot to him. This book is as fine an example of the genre as one may find.

[Mail John][To List]

Also by Chandler: [The Big Sleep] [The Lady in the Lake] [The Little Sister] [The Long Goodbye] [Playback] [Farewell, My Lovely]

[Other Mystery Books]

[Other books set in California]