About The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window
Raymond Chandler’s first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.
The Big Sleep, Chandler’s first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralyzed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail, and murder. In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women. In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself deep in the tangled affairs of a dead coin collector.
In all three novels, Chandler’s hard-edged prose, colorful characters, vivid vernacular, and, above all, his enigmatic loner of a hero, enduringly establish his claim not only to the heights of his chosen genre but to the pantheon of literary art.
Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888 -1959) was the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction. Although he was born in Chicago, Chandler spent most of his boyhood and youth in England where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a… More about Raymond Chandler
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“Raymond Chandler is a master.” –New York Times
“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” –Ross Macdonald
“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” –Paul Auster
“The prose rises to heights of unself-conscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action-tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision…The reader is captivated by Chandler’s seductive prose.” –Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books
“Chandler is one of my favorite writers. His books bear rereading every few years. The novels are a perfect snapshot of an American past, and yet the ruined romanticism of the voice is as fresh as if they were written yesterday.” –Jonathan Lethem
“Chandler seems to have invented our post-war dream lives–the tough but tender hero, the dangerous blonde, the rain-washed sidewalks, and the roar of the traffic (and the ocean) in the distance…Chandler is the classic lonely romantic outsider for our times, and American literature, as well as English, would be the poorer for his absence.” –Pico Iyer
With a new Introduction by Diane Johnson
Raymond Chandler is often called the greatest of the American hard-boiled detective-story writers. His only rival would be his acquaintance Dashiell Hammett, six years his junior but finished with writing by the time Chandler, at the age of fifty, was beginning. Chandler was by heritage and education British, though he was born in Chicago in 1888, and his father was an American, a hard-drinking engineer for the railroads, whom he never saw again after his parents divorced. Without money, his Anglo-Irish Quaker mother decided to take the seven-year-old Raymond back to her home in Ireland, and then to London, where they were supported by an uncle who saw to it that he got a good English education in ‘public’, that is, private schools, most importantly Dulwich College, which also produced such other notable writers as C. S. Forester and P. G. Wodehouse. Here he became truly British, read the classics and played rugby like other English schoolboys. Though he showed an aptitude for writing, he expected to go into the law.