Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have to attend to a personal matter and will be away from my blog for 2-3 weeks. I'll be back posting in the near future.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
Pocket Book 212, Copyright 1940

"I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin."

My favorite Raymond Chandler novel. And of course there is more here than Philip Marlowe trying to get a lead on where Moose Malloy is hiding out and finding what became of little Velma. I've probably read "Farewell, My Lovely" more times than any other novel. And whenever I pick it up, I discover something in it that amazes me. This time it was Marlowe's interaction with the two main cops in the story. Detective Lieutenant Nulty is a sloppy, lazy, almost unhealthy homicide cop. He doesn't even leave his office in the 77th Street Division and depends on others to provide leads and services for him. Marlowe willingly helps him out, knowing he can use Nulty's name to benefit his investigation whenever an "official" question needs to be asked. For Marlowe, throwing Nulty a bone can do him some good, in the future he may need to cash in a little credit with the Hollywood Police Department.

Randall is the Los Angeles homicide cop assigned to the Lindsay Marriott murder. A professional all the way, he suspects Marlowe is withholding from him and he warns Marlowe to stay out of it. Later, Marlowe sort of goes through the back door looking into the Marriott murder as he discovers there was a connection between Marriott and the drunken Florian hag. The next time Marlowe and Randall meet, their relationship turns more respectful and the exchange of information is mutual. Of course, Marlowe has to first go through taking his "treatment" at Dr. Sonderborg's residence. The last chapter really captures Randall showing a high regard for Marlowe, as they meet and he tells of Velma's final fate.

Chandler also has Marlowe battling his share of corrupt cops. There are the two Bay City ones who sap him and take him to Dr. Sonderberg. And the Bay City police chief is in politically with the racketeer Brunette. But then there is the ex-cop Red Norgaard who takes a great risk to ferry Marlowe to the gambling ship Montecito. He is so mysterious and likable, that Marlowe sees a bit of himself in Red. Chandler must of liked the character also because in the end he gets his job back on the police force.

Good ones or bad ones, when it came to a P.I.'s interaction with cops, no one wrote them better than Raymond Chandler. It's just another magnet the draws you into a Philip Marlowe novel.

"After a little while I felt a little better, but very little. I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room."

Raymond Chandler's novels are not just enjoyable to read, they are a privilege to read.