For our final meeting of 2019, in October, the Just Desserts group looked back at one of the most classic American mystery writers of the 20th century — Raymond Chandler, and his series of novels and short stories featuring the sleuth Philip Marlowe.
Though Philip Marlowe first appeared in the 1939 novel The Big Sleep, several earlier stories written by Chandler for the pulps featured characters very much like Marlowe but with other names (like Carmady and John Dalmas). Those stories were retroactively turned into Marlowe stories when they were reprinted in book/collection form and the earlier characters were renamed “Philip Marlowe”.
Marlowe was a wise-cracking, tough-drinking, philosophical, down-on-his-luck gumshoe, the epitome of the “Noir” style of detective, as played by actor Humphrey Bogart in the film version of The Big Sleep. During the period from 1939 to 1958, Chandler finished seven Marlowe novels, and a handful of short stories. Chandler had begun work on the eighth Marlowe novel, Poodle Springs, but had only completed the first four chapters by the time he passed away in 1959. Robert B. Parker (best know for the Spenser for Hire novels) completed Poodle Springs, which eventually was published in 1989. [Note: Parker went on to write an original Marlowe novel, Perchance to Dream — one of several “authorized” books to continue the Marlowe series.]
To find out more about Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) and his Philip Marlowe novels, follow these links:
Philip Marlowe handout for Just Desserts
Philip Marlowe entry on Wikipedia
Raymond Chandler entry on www.fantasticfiction.com, with links to info on the individual books
Wikipedia entry on Raymond Chandler
Hotlink into the Lincoln City Libraries catalog for Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels (be aware this also lists Marlowe titles by authors other than Chandler)
(Here are individual links to Chandler’s Marlowe novels and/or story collections in the libraries’ online catalog: The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943), Little Sister (1949), The Simple Art of Murder (1950 short stories & essay), Trouble is My Business (1950 short stories), The Long Goodbye (1953), and Playback (1958).)
For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery fans, don’t forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you’re logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts – this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance — our early-2020 meetings should be posted shortly.
So…What do you think of Raymond Chandler, and the “Philip Marlowe” series?
Join us again on January 30th, 2020 for the next meeting of Just Desserts. Assigned reading to be announced shortly. We hope to see you there!
In February 2009, we discussed the classic 1939 hard-boiled detective novel, The Big Sleep, in which author Raymond Chandler introduces us to the famed gumshoe Philip Marlowe.
This title was discussed at the Just Desserts meeting on February 26, 2009. Any and all visitors to this blog are encouraged to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below!