Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts at the half-way point of The Long Good-bye

There is a real difference between the Philip Marlowe books written before the second world war and the one I'm reading this week which came afterwards.

The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely introduce you to a wise but clevcer Philip Marlowe who has the wise cracks and is prepared to take the punches to solve the case. The people he mixes with tend sto be at both ends of the social spectrum with the blondes living off daddy's money down to the thugs trying to intimidate him out of solving the case.

In The Long Good-Bye Marlowe seems to be tired, vulnerable and although the wise cracks keep coming they just don't have the zip of earlier attempts. The brutality of the war seems to have made his run-ins with hoodlums and casino owners lose that bit of tension.

There are also references to technology that didn't seem to be there pre-war. Then it was all about guns, cars and cocktail mixers but now it's television, coffee makers and electric shavers.

It can't have helped that Chandler's wife was dying as he wrote the book. It is still enjoyable but so far in it's sad to come across this Marlowe compared to the one from the 1930s.

A review will follow on completion...

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