Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lunchtime read: The High Window

“’All right,’ he said wearily. ‘Get on with it. I have a feeling you are going to be very brilliant. Remorseless flow of logic and intuition and all that rot. Just like a detective in a book.’”

The lunchtime read of last week comes to an end with a great scene where Marlowe reveals the entire series of events to not quite the person you expected and then not only solves the crime he was hired for but a fair few others on the way. As an introduction to Chandler it has been great, not just because of the style, but also because this is not The Big Sleep or Trouble is my Business, which conjure up images of old black and white Hollywood classics.

Highlights between chapters twenty-six to thirty-six

* Hoping to track down the missing dentist Marlowe discovers he has done a runner and after some research guesses it’s because he has used his dentist technician skills to formulate false coins

* Then things take a different turn with Marlowe being phoned at his office to be told by his building manager that there is a woman there to see him, Merle Mrs Murdock’s secretary, and she appears to be in quite a state

* He rushes over to be confronted with a woman who claims she has killed Vannier and then faints so Marlowe calls a doctor and heads over to find the blackmailer dead but not by her handiwork and discovers he had been blackmailing Mrs Murdock for eights years because he knows she pushed her husband out of a high window to his death

* Marlowe heads back to his home and then goes off to see Mrs Murdock to explain what has happened to Merle and explain she isn’t coming back to work for her again and as he leaves the old woman without an argument after he confronts her with a few home truths he has a showdown with the son

* In response to a line about whether or not this is the bit he shows off his detective deducing Marlowe sets out the entire story – who killed who and why – and decimates not just the son’s defences but those of the Murdock family

* He then heads off to take Merle back to her parents in Kansas but before she goes he tells her it was Mrs Murdock who pushed her husband out of the window and not her, despite the years of manipulation making it seem that way

* On his return from helping Merle he calls on the police who seem to have reached most of the right conclusions in the case, except for the Murdock’s who remain untouched, but as they were his clients Marlowe owes them indifference if nothing else

A full review will follow shortly…


Nonanon said...

Hm, I've read some Chandler but not much. Your review is putting me in the mood to try this book, though-thanks for that!

simon quicke said...

Nonanon good luck with it I've just got a couple more of his books out of the library so will be posting about those in the next few weeks as well.