In the world of fictional detectives, few are as well thought of, certainly as an archetype, as Philip Marlowe, creation of Raymond Chandler. He is the conscience of a gritty amoral world that deludes itself with fictions of justice and worth, that melt under the harsh lights of avarice, hubris, and folly. Characters dream big, connive, lie, and strut, all in a futile effort to exert control where there is none. Roll it in murder and add a disdainful sceptical detective and you find the perfect vehicle in which to see the world as it is.
Or as Chandler did.
Much is made of the fact that The Long Goodbye is perhaps the most autobiographical of Chandler’s Marlowe series. It is definitely the longest and the most meditative and vitriolic in its social commentary. His wife’s sickness, his alcoholism, and his struggles to finish the book, along with his desire…
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