As long as there is an address to visit, a lead to follow or a punch to be taken Chandler keeps the plot growing almost organically until he pulls it altogether. For those people who don’t think the short story is a good genre then this will prove them wrong. Over 55 pages Chandler weaves a magic spell that ends with you wanting to plough straight into the next short story.
One comment I could have made yesterday but is equally applicable today is the sense of time. Chandler packs a huge amount in just a few hours and it is hard to credit that some of it has happened on the same night.
Highlights from Red Wind
* Private detective John Dalmas pops over to a bar opposite his apartment block and is talking to the barman who has recently opened while a drunk at the other end of the bar keeps ordering drinks
* Suddenly a man walks in and asks if anyone has seen a woman and as he is leaving the drunk shoots him twice fatally and then runs out into the dead man’s car and heads off leaving Dalmas and the bartender to call the police
* After reporting the events Dalmas heads back to the apartment and as he exits the lift stumbles across the woman that fits the description given by the man who has just been shot in the bar
* She reveals very little and in a discussion about the shooting they are suddenly disturbed by the killer who has come back to shoot Dalmas to prevent him from being a witness
* Hidden in the closet the woman steps out at just the right time to save Dalmas’s life and after she leaves he calls the cops and a glory seeking policeman comes to pick up the killer and arrange it with Dalmas that he takes all the credit
* The woman reappears and asks Dalmas to help track down some pearls that the dead man was meant to be selling to her so the private eye heads to the apartment and discovers a dead man but no pearls
* The latest victim leads Dalmas to the husband of the woman seeking the pearls and reveals that the bar corpse was blackmailing both husband and wife before being killed by an old criminal partner he had grassed up for a prison sentence
* In a final showdown with the crooked policeman and his saner colleague Dalmas sets out the case and answers all the queries before succumbing himself to the madness caused by the red wind throwing the pearls one by one into the sea
Another story tomorrow…