Monday, April 16, 2007

Lunchtime read: The High Window

Having never read any Raymond Chandler it is hard to come to it without expecting a character with a trilby, cigarette dangled from a lip and a gun pointed at the direction of a blonde dame who has been caught conning their husband. While most of that image is true what it fails to appreciate is the style of writing, which is as assured as the main character Marlowe. Three chapters in and you can tell this is going to be a cracking read – no need for warming up here it grabs you from the start.

Highlights from the first three chapters

* Private detective Marlowe is called to a house to be hired by a woman who has discovered that a coin from her deceased husband’s collection worth $10,000 has gone missing

* She suspects her daughter-in-law, a night club singer, who has vanished and tells Marlowe to find her and recover the coin and then she will arrange for a divorce for her son

* Marlowe charges high but manages to win over the cantankerous old bird with his display of tough resolve and he heads back to his office with a cheque for $250 in his pocket

* Back in his office he is visited by the son who wants to know what his mother wanted him for and admits he owes a criminal $12,000 and then when Marlowe makes a pop at his wife he pulls out a gun and then tries to punch the detective in the face

Where is the story going? You sense there is much more going on here than just a simple coin theft. More tomorrow…

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