Friday, June 15, 2007

Lunchtime read: Trouble is my business

Chandler makes assumptions about people that are true whatever end of the social spectrum you are – that you will be motivated above all else by money. As a result his leading characters talk and respond to most situations with a knowing contempt for people whether they are criminals, business men or landed gentry. It is a technique that adds to the air of confidence and invulnerability of his private detective leading men.

Highlights from The Goldfish

* Kathy is a woman with a cocaine addicted lodger who served time in prison with a man named Sype who was responsible for a famous hold-up that stole the Leander pearls worth $200,000

* No one ever found the pearls but Sype hid them somewhere and made the mistake of telling the cocaine addict while they were serving together and so Kathy turns up at Carmady’s office, a detective friend and asks his advice

* The insurance company has a reward of $25,000 on offer for the return of the pearls and so she tells Carmady that the lodger knows where they are so he pops round to see him only to discover a murder victim who had his feet burn with an iron

* He then gets called by the murderers, a ruthless girl and a dodgy business man, who need Carmady because they failed to get the information out of their victim before he died

* Soon the knowledge is shared that the character with the pearls is a goldfish loving old man who is now living in Canada and Carmady and the two killers set off independently to track him down

* Carmady meets the cocaine addicts partner and they are about to head off and stake out Sype’s house when the other two turn up and after another killing Carmady manages to fool them and heads off to meet the old criminal

* Sype is a hard man who after listening to Carmady pulls a gun and is about to shoot when the girl and accomplice turn up and in the confusion the girl is shot by Sype’s wife and Sype is gunned down by her accomplice

* As he is dying Sype tells his wife “the moors” and Carmady works out that he means the Chinese Moor fish and inside two of them are the pearls but at the end while they wait for the police the wife tries to con Carmady out of them and he sees through her and then has a vision of the $25,000 he and Kathy will share

Final story in the collection comes over the weekend and then there is going to have to be more Chandler because he is too addictive…

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