Down And Out Drunk Terry Lennox Has A Problem His Millionaire Wife Is Dead And He Needs To Get Out Of LA Fast So He Turns To The Only Friend He Can Trust Private Investigator Philip Marlowe Marlowe Is Willing To Help A Man Down On His Luck, But Later Lennox Commits Suicide In Mexico And Things Start To Turn Nasty Marlowe Is Drawn Into A Sordid Crowd Of Adulterers And Alcoholics In LA S Idle Valley, Where The Rich Are Suffering One Big Suntanned Hangover Marlowe Is Sure Lennox Didn T Kill His Wife, But How Many Stiffs Will Turn Up Before He Gets To The Truth

10 thoughts on “The Long Goodbye

  1. says:

    To say goodbye is to die a little.There are some books that just feel good to have on your dashboard, never too far from your fingertips to read in the tiny gaps between obligations and responsibility The type of book that rides shotgun and keeps you company through the darker hours, through lonely nights at a shady laundromat or booze soaked rainstorms on your porch Raymond Chandler s The Long Goodbye is that sort of book, that sort of friend The past few months have seen some bleak times and I ve been on a Chandler kick to press through them Of all the Marlowe adventures, this was the one that stands out like a lighthouse in a storm telling an unforgettable tale of murder and mystery Chandler took noir to soaring heights of literary acceptance with his works, joining Dashiell Hammett as an essential author of the genre and The Long Goodbye leaves an eternal mark on the face of literature even so that the upbeat and hardboiled The Big Sleep that kicked off the Phillip Marlowe novel series and inspired fantastic films such as The Big Lebowski Goodbye is a novel for hard times, hard drinking, hard living an aged and cynical than ever Marlowe proves he s worth his salt in honoring the memory of a short lived but impactful friendship with Terry Lennox Lennox, a war hero alcoholic, has been a victim of either suicide or arranged murder in a small Mexican town while on the lam escaping an accusation for murder of his rich wife, and Marlowe will stop at nothing to see through the doors slammed shut by political power and fear and discover the truth While a bit bloated, this is a novel of near perfection in the mystery genre that is guaranteed to keep you up at night, gladly dropping quarters for another dryer cycle in order to keep reading because a mystery with Marlowe is about as good as life gets.To label this novel perfection would be to bastardize any opinions on the literature widely accepted by the academy that I ve previously championed and praised, but few novels have felt like a better friend in hard times than The Long Goodbye Or perhaps it s just that I like occupying Marlowe s headspace I even named my new cat after him upon completion of The Big Sleep Marlowe is the type of man you wish you were, but not one you d want to spend time with He is fearless and devoted nearly to a fault, unafraid to play the asshole to get what he wants He swims upon his moods and cherishes those moments of getting right up in someones face just to drown out a bad feeling or ascertain the truth He calls everyone out on their bullshit and possesses a moral compass so strong that nobody besides himself seems to be worth a damn Pushy and thorny, Marlowe is the hero for me Reading a Chandler novel is much like geeking out on the old John Wayne films I d watch with my father as a child, particularly True Grit There are the pitfalls of blatant misogyny, racism particularly towards Latin Americans in this one, which with my love of Latin American literature was particularly not cool and cornball dated humor, but it is honestly very easy to overlook when the plot is that engaging, the writing that cool and the novel so entertaining How can you not love a novel with a passage like this Alcohol is like loveThe first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine After that you take the girl s clothes off. This is the sort of novel that keeps you pouring a glass along with Marlowe perhaps is that what they mean by an active reader , one who empathizes with the character and drinks when he drinks and despite being a pot boiler of a thriller, never insults the intellect The twists are fresh and the writing crisp Granted, the novel is a bit bloated and some elements may raise the really eyebrow of critique, but on the whole it works It is easy to consider many bits as cliche in the modern day, but important to remember that it was Chandler that invented it before it became cliche There is also a really charming self consciousness to this novel with regards to the writing Why did I go into such detail Marlowe asks of himself, because the charged atmosphere made every little thing stand out as a performance. The writing truly fits the scene and the P.I narrator While in most novels it would be easy to sneer at a lengthy passage on the physical description and dress of a character as they first walk on the scene, here it is at home since Marlowe would need to analyze a fresh face for all they are worth to build a profile of them quickly in order to interact with them and press for the goal Chandler has a true gift for dialogue and character mannerisms as well, creating a wide, engaging cast He was a guy who talked with commas, like a heavy novel, he says at one point, and the dialogue of each character is always brilliantly nuanced There is even a wonderful sense of satire on authors present, with Chandler poking fun at top selling authors who write for profit and not for artistic merit, as is shown with Roger Wade The continuous satire and critique of Hollywood and California that permeates Chandler s novels comes alive in comical form with the desert sobering up clinic and the mentally challenged guard who cannot separate his fantasy role playing of cowboys and tough guys from reality On the surface it is easy to scoff at these scenes, but Chandler plays for something deeper.It is fascinating to have read Chandler grow as a writer and to see his characters develop and age over time Like a racoon, Marlowe has grown older and meaner and tougher, but all the honorable, strong willed and fearless Maybe I was tired and irritable Maybe I felt a little guilty I could learn to hate this guy without even knowing him I could just look at him across the width of a cafeteria and want to kick his teeth in The relationship between him and Ohl has soured a bit, both of them really elbowing the other in the ribs with force and sadistic pleasure, with Ohl no longer a chain smoker but constantly rubbing an unlit cigarette between his lips What has not changed is the insight into Los Angeles and Hollywood, blossoming now into subtle jabs of social insight with Marlowe looking down at all the socialites as their sins and flaws seem to define them The Long Goodbye reads almost like a western where the territory is wild and untamed and crime running rampant not as a driving force but as a symptom of the American lifestyle we have let cultivate itself Power and greed and evil are seen here as byproducts of a society ruled by its own fear and vice, and Marlowe must navigate these deadly waters to uphold the good names of himself and those he cares about The Long Goodbye is a cornerstone of noir and mystery that rises above any genre into simply being a beautiful piece of literature A searing social critique orchestrated with dazzling plot twists, enviable dialogue prowess and a firm grounding in doing what is right simply because it is right, Chandler has created a masterpiece that is just as potent today as it was when first written This is the sort of novel that scratches an itch of being both a fluff read and an intellectual endeavour there must be a term for this somewhere and grabs the reader by the throat and heart and won t let go until the final, heart wrenching few lines Plus, the Robert Altman film starring Elliott Gould is fantastic though not a perfect adaption it still works and rivals even Chinatown as a masterpiece of noir cinema This novel was a true comfort on many a dark night and it was sad to see it end Marlowe is a true literary hero and one I won t ever forget.4.5 5 Out there in the night of a thousand crimes people were dying, being maimed, cut by flying glass, crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tires People were being beaten, robbed, strangled, raped, and murdered People were hungry, sick bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel, feverish, shaken by sobs A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness.It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is I didn t have one I didn t care.I finished the drink and went to bed. While there is plenty of drinking to be had finish this novel without wanting to go order a gimlet, I dare you , Chandler does well to also add an air of caution to the intake of alcohol To drink in moderation is one thing, but the horrors of alcoholism and excess make up a major portion of the novel A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all You can t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.

  2. says:

    511 The Long Goodbye Philip Marlowe, 6 , Raymond ChandlerThe Long Goodbye is a novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1953, his sixth novel featuring the private investigator Philip Marlowe Some critics consider it inferior to The Big Sleep or Farewell, My Lovely, but others rank it as the best of his work Chandler, in a letter to a friend, called the novel my best book 1999 1378 408 9646728073 6 20

  3. says:

    Philip Marlowe saves a drunken guy from being dumped in a ditch He does it again another time He does is yet again another time And another And another Finally he gets into trouble for doing this no good deed ever goes unpunished.This book gives a very realistic gritty picture of US life in early fifties It provides social commentary on the subject It is considered by many critics to be the best Raymond Chandler novel, a classic of literature in general It also happened to be unnecessary long and boring As a mystery book it is really third rate, so let us just call it classic drama with some mystery elements, just to be fair.Philip Marlowe does not feel the same to the extent that I would like to ask the late author, Who the heck is the guy impersonating him and what happened to the real one Gone are brilliant one liners of the previous books which give a good picture with minimum effort Gone are Marlowe s wisecracks The plot of the previous 5 novels moved with a very fast rate where the whole story took place within a couple of days This time we have sentences like, Several weeks passed on practically every page.Continuing the theme of the guy impersonating Marlowe in the book, he really acts out of character here Where is the guy who went head to head with an armed ruthless killer trying to protect a person who he never saw before The Big Sleep This time he does not do anything even remotely exciting the whole investigation took whopping 2 pages out of 350 He spends his time doing boring routine and being bullied He is bullied by everybody and their brother corrupted copes, good cops, millionaires and their henchmen, mobsters, random thugs, gorgeous women, vegan activists, Buddhist monks, centenarian grandmothers, and tough kindergarten kids Sorry, I got carried away in the last four cases, but it could happen with the rate things were going The only reason for all the bulling Marlowe got stubborn for no good cause whatsoever.The rating of this book is 3 stars with one half of a star added for its classic status Raymond Chandler mentioned in his essay that during his writing if he felt the plot became slow he would make a man with a gun come through the door I was waiting for the guy through the whole book he never came This review is a copy paste of my BookLikes one

  4. says:

    Chandler s known as the king of LA noir and word is this is his best His writing is lean and clean, short staccato sentences with not a word wasted Almost poetic in its brevity not to be confused with lack of substance Humour me, I m trying it out on this review view spoiler it s fun you should try it sometime hide spoiler

  5. says:

    IT S OK WITH MEMarlowe cresce, senza invecchiare Letterariamente nato nel 1939, qui appare quattordici anni dopo per la sesta volta Disilluso, e apparentemente cinico, in realt il solito inguaribile romantico, qui pi che mai Al punto da credere ancora in valori come l amicizia, e perfino l onest.In questo romanzo, pi che in altri, la tematica dell alcol la fa da padrone, ci sono ben tre personaggi che ne sono schiavi lo scrittore in crisi creativa, l amico fuggitivo, e lo stesso protagonista Per un lungo periodo della sua vita Chandler ebbe seri problemi di alcol, fino probabilmente a morire per le conseguenze dell eccesso.Il condominio dove abita Marlowe a Westwood sullo sfondo le sue belle vicine di casa.Il lungo addio il grande sonno, la morte.Per me Chandler rimane un maestro insuperato del noir in chiave hard boiled, e leggerlo rimane uno dei piaceri della vita.Poi, vent anni dopo l uscita del romanzo, nel 1973, arriv Robert Altman Erano i suoi anni pi fecondi in soli cinque anni realizz film storici, come questo, M A S H , McCabe Mrs Miller I compari , Thieves Like Us Gang, Nashville , concedendosi anche opere minori , ma sempre pi che pregevoli, come Brewster McCloud Anche gli uccelli uccidono , Images e California Split California Poker Il suo obiettivo sembrava essere fare buoni film intervenendo sui generei cinematografici, smitizzandoli pietra miliare rimane la rivisitazione del West nel film con Warren Beatty e Julie Christie , giocando sugli stereotipi.Qui, pi che altrove, respiro molta nouvelle vague francese, sapientemente adattata alla costa ovest degli US.Verso la fine, stessa inquadratura del mitico finale qui Marlowe arriva a piedi alla casa dell amico, e poi se ne va sempre a piedi.Altman carrella, panoramica, zoomma, muove in continuazione la sua macchina da presa col dolly, e riprende attraverso finestre, su vetri specchi quadri finestre acqua, superfici che riflettono e schermano, cornici che raddoppiano l inquadratura.Altrettanto meta cinematografica la colonna sonora di John Williams, la canzone The Long Goodbye che si ripete per tutto il film sotto forma di puro score, oppure dalla radio, oppure cantata dai personaggi, nel campanello di una porta, nella marcia funebre di un funerale messicano.La storia, oltre a essere attualizzata ambientandola nella Los Angeles dei primi anni Settanta il gangster sembra un sosia di Paul Simon interpretato da Mark Rydell, pi famoso come regista che come attore suoi sono Sul lago dorato e Il fiume dell ira , scarnificata, ridotta all osso, sfrondando tutti i rami secondari con cui Chandler contorceva le sue trame.Gould Marlowe rimane vestito cos tutto il film, inclusa la sigaretta accesa, presente in ogni singola scena.Gi dalla prima inquadratura capiamo molto di questo nuovo Marlowe dorme vestito con la luce accesa su un letto sfatto, accanto ha un posacenere straboccante di cicche, viene svegliato alle tre del mattino dal gatto affamato, si accende immediatamente una sigaretta, e come nel resto del film, non la abbandona mai, e la accende sempre con fiammiferi strusciati su qualsiasi superficie la parete dietro il letto tutta segnata Sembra uno studente fuori sede, e fuori corso, di quelli che frequentano poco la doccia, non rinunciano a vestiti stazzonati e lavandini ingombri di piatti sporchi un tale perdente che poco pi avanti perde anche il gatto non riuscito a imbrogliarlo il gatto ha la sua marca preferita di cibo in scatola e mangia solo quella, Marlowe ha cambiato etichetta ai barattoli, ma il gatto non c cascato.I dialoghi delle scene con Hayden Wade sono tutti improvvisati perch Sterling Hayden era sempre ubriaco e strafatto La casa dove abita la casa dove abitava Robert Altman all epoca.Durante l interrogatorio della polizia Marlowe si dipinge la faccia con l inchiostro del tampone per le impronte digitali un po come un giocatore di football, ancor pi come un pellerossa, a met tra la marachella e la protesta Belmondo si colorava di blu nel finale di Pierrot le fou.Per indossa sempre lo stesso abito scuro, con camicia bianca e cravatta anche se invitato a togliersela, evita, rimane vestito perfino quando si tuffa nell oceano per salvare lo scrittore ubriaco un immenso iconico Sterling Hayden, che improvvis tutti i suoi dialoghi perch sul set era perennemente ubriaco e fatto d erba.Gould Marlowe prova a imbrogliare il gatto di nascosto riempie il barattolo del cibo preferito dal felino con un altro qualsiasi, lo offre alla bestiola che per non ci casca, e rifiuta sdegnasa un Marlowe molto diverso, a cominciare dal fatto che trasportato negli anni Settanta Ma nostalgia e malinconia impregnano il film come il romanzo basta pensare alla macchina che Elliott Gould Philip Marlowe possiede, una Lincoln Continental decapottabile del 1948 O basta pensare al fatto che a sceneggiare la stessa Leigh Brackett del mitico Il Grande Sonno , proprio quello diretto da Haward Hawks nel 1946, con l ancor pi mitico Bogart che rese leggendario il private eye Marlowe O anche alle imitazione del custode del Malibu Colony.Ma oltre a questi sentimenti retro , c ironia e umorismo da vendere, macchiette, caricature, alleggerimento, diluizione della suspense un noir cos atipico che girato quasi tutto di giorno, senza neon e asfalti bagnati in controluce il direttore della fotografia il grande Vilmos Zsigmond, che in post produzione sovraespose il negativo alla luce per smorzare i neri e ammorbidire i colori fino a raggiungere tonalit pastello.Le vicine di casa, sempre nude, sempre tra lo strafatto e lo sciroccato un film con un investigatore privato protagonista e non vediamo mai il suo ufficio, con la classica porta a vetri, e la bottiglia di bourbon nascosta nel cassetto della scrivania Dove lavora questo Marlowe Ce l ha un ufficio un detective privato che gira disarmato, tranne nel finale Che ha vicine di casa bellissime e sciroccate, perennemente in topless, sempre sveglie, passano il tempo tra yoga meditazione e confezionando candele, preparano brownies alle tre del mattino sicuramente speziati di hashish Marlowe invece di corteggiarle, gli fa la spesa di notte e non si fa rendere i soldi Piuttosto chiede loro di gettare un occhio sul suo gatto che s offeso per il tranello della scatoletta di cibo ed sparito.Gould sornione e strafottente, ma emana anche tenerezza e fragilit , le donne lo ingaggiano anche per essere protette vedi la moglie dello scrittore, Nina van Pallandt Riflessi e doppie inquadrature.Per tutto il film Gould Marlowe ripete It s ok with me , inno di strafottenza e rinuncia ma alla fine invece, all amico che gli dice A nessuno importa , risponde Importa a me E compie un gesto tanto inaspettato quanto inevitabile, regalando al film un finale magnifico, decisamente superiore a quello del romanzo.Quanto assomiglia ai protagonisti dei film americani della stessa epoca il Jack Nicholson di Cinque pezzi facili , Gene Hackman de La conversazione , DeNiro di Taxi Driver , sempre Hackman di Bersaglio di notte , il Krist Kristofferson di Pat Garrett Billy the Kid delusi, perdenti, ma non sconfitti, anti eroi un po fuori dal tempo, ma perfette espressioni di quel loro tempo incerto.E allora, il lungo addio del film di Altman forse quello del cinema americano al cinema classico, al cinema di pap la nouvelle vague venuta almeno dieci quindici prima, anche il free cinema, adesso il tempo della New Hollywood non per niente il film si chiude sulle note di Hooray for Hollywoodche continua a scorrere sotto i titoli di coda PSIn due ruoli minori, neppure citati nei titoli di coda uncredited si vedono David Carradine e Arnold Schwarzenegger.Da sinistra a destra Robert Altman, Nina von Pallandt, Elliott Gould.

  6. says:

    Philip Marlowe, a cynical shamus, looks down at the parking lot of The Dancers Club, watching a drunk, be put into his car, a silver Rolls Royce, but the annoyed valet, has trouble, the left leg refuses to be moved inside, instead remains firmly on the ground Where the rest of the intoxicated man, will soon be also The pretty red headed woman, sitting next to him, or was, in the automobile, is very angry, with good reason Turns out she is Sylvia Lennox, ex wife of this inebriated war veteran Second World War , Terry Lennox, and he has the scars on his face to prove it Mr Marlowe not known for being a nice guy, comes down the steps and helps the defenseless Terry up While the multimillionaire s notorious daughter, says she s late for an engagement, and go get a cab to the lush, Mr Lennox Taking the vehicle it s hers , speeding away like a race driver, towards the finish line What to do with this pathetic creature, take him home and sober him up thinks Marlowe, can t leave the poor man, in the gutter, things were different in the last year of the 1940 s, besides Thanksgiving, had just been celebrated Soon these unlikely two become friends , Mr Marlowe keeps Terry from the drunk tank, the next time he sees him, trying to be vertical, on the streets of Los Angeles, hustles him away, when a cop notices But would you believe it This alcoholic friend, living mostly in some dark hole, outside, wherever he could find or reach one, remarries the wealthy daughter of Mr Harlan Potter, and is on their second honeymoon in Las Vegas From the top to the bottom and back, again, sending a hundred dollar check, to the astonished Marlowe, for all his complications, a few days before Christmas, too They later become drinking partners, at a dingy bar, but happiness does not last, Mr Lennox is just a front, to keep the promiscuous Sylvia, looking respectable, Daddy is a cold, conservative, honorable man, no bad publicity, he likes it as much as a stock market crash, but a murder is committed, there will be , and Terry is suspected, the hero flees to Mexico, with the assistance of Philip, who asks not the right questions, a pal is a pal The tough police aren t, slapping the private detective around, beating him, like a punching bag, with eyes, not the first time, either from criminals or the law, it does still hurt, but keeps his trap shutJailed, looking out into space, only blankness , waiting and wondering, how can he get out of this foolish mess, maybe be incarcerated in San Quentin, the big house, for years, but has his pride, intact Days later he is sprung, becomes involved with Mr and Mrs Wade, in the exclusive, then , San Fernando Valley, Eileen Wade is breathtakingly beautiful, Roger Wade is another drunk, but a best selling writer, who needs to stop drinking, in order to finish his next book, swords and romance, not a favorite of critics , but they are poor and he is rich Philip Marlowe, through no fault of his own, brings death , and sinister, lurking gangsters Raymond Chandler, the king of mystery authors, has another great novel, that lifts it above the genre, into serious, distinguished, literature.

  7. says:

    A down and out friend of Marlowe s flees to Mexico with Marlowe s help, his wife dead under suspicious circumstances Marlowe s friend soon turns up dead, an apparent suicide But what does his death, if anything, have to do with a drunk writer Marlowe finds himself watching I m not really sure how I feel about the Long Goodbye It s Chandler so the writing is great, with Chandler s trademark similes and hard boiled atmosphere On the other hand, it s written a little differently than his other Philip Marlowe books It s philosophical and less crime oriented The two victims in the story seem to be stand ins for Chandler himself.It s still crime oriented, though It took me forever to figure out how the two seemingly unrelated cases were linked I got there just before Marlowe did but it was a close shave.What else is there to say without giving anything away Chandler once again delivers the goods, just not in the same package as usual Still, it was a very enjoyable read.

  8. says:

    Dammit, Raymond Chandler has style He has finesse His use of metaphor is so good that he is still an original, even after lesser noirists have copied or stolen from him outright for the past sixty years.Yet for a hardboiled novel with the slickest of metaphors, Chandler is still a very sensitive writer For a genre so easily stereotyped as gruff plastic machismo, this is an oddly meditative and melancholy book You root for Marlowe, of course, but you admire his cases and his dedication, and his sad depictions of 1950s Los Angeles Chandler maybe even put part of himself into this story, with the parts with the writer down on his luck, or the scarred sympathetic veteran The twist ending, by the way, is fantastic.This, I hear, is one of his best I agree He may be only a genre writer, but to hell with that It is my firm opinion he s one of the best prose stylists the US has produced in the 20th century.

  9. says:

    When it comes to Raymond Chandler s novels starring the smart ass, misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe, there s The Long Goodbye and then there s everything else Chandler ever wrote and it s a long, lonely drive in between The Big Sleep, Farwell, My Lovely, and The Little Sister are all seminal works of the hard boiled genre, too be sure and on any other day of the week each is its own fuel injected suicide machine but in a bare knuckled brawl, these books are packing wet noodles for arms when they walk into the Thunderdome and go up against the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla that is The Long Goodbye.I was worried going into this book, on account of one of my most loved and worshipped novels of all time, James Crumley s The Last Good Kiss, is in part based off of this book Crumley has said than once in interviews that every good idea he had, he stole from Raymond Chandler Luckily, these two novels are very separate beasts while both feature plot threads involving alcoholic, asshole authors, they go their own separate, heart stomping ways.If put on the spot for a fortune cookie summarization of the two books, I d say the The Last Good Kiss is about the fleeting temporality of love and the lingering heaviness of its loss, while The Long Goodbye, than anything, is a slow burning rumination on the nature of friendship.In the earlier novels, all the events transpire usually under 48 hours, with Marlowe getting assigned a case in the first few pages, and then finding the first in a long trail of dead bodies by page 20 The Long Goodbye begins with a jarring but lovely change of pacing and tone, with Marlowe forging a chance friendship with a charming loser of a war veteran Weeks and months pass before the first body shows up around the fifty page mark, and it s not until somewhere around the 100 page mark that the first signs of a case actually appear.For a certain breed of mystery reader, this will probably sound like a terrible prospect, but then again, I am a different kind of mystery reader I believe the genre can be a powerful medium for morality tales that can tackle all sorts of issues that I find important i.e the nature of good and evil, mortality, social injustice, the fallible nature of the American dream and can be written in prose that is subtle, poetic, and painful Bottom line I consider mystery novels when they are truly well written and truly about something as important as any other well cherished work of literature.I don t really have it in me to try and give you a zesty teaser on the plot of this novel, some hokey hook that ll make you say Gee Wiz and click on the want to read button This book tired me emotionally, and I mean that in the best possible way So I m going to take my curtain call with this last bit if you are a reader who loves a layered, complex story with characters whose motivations are hidden behind the veil of what is being said at any moment including in fact, especially the narrator, Marlowe , if you enjoy a book that actually requires you to actively read, then this is a book I d recommend Rest assured, there are murders and criminals and femme fatales and tough talk and shady characters and two timing lovers and dirty cops and mysteries intertwined with mysteries, but all that s just the icing on top What s underneath is where things get good.

  10. says:

    I enjoyed the atmospherics and mood of this one, the last of Chandler s detective stories featuring Philip Marlowe This one is different in being meditative and in having of a focus on alienation among the wealthy residents of gated compounds Chandler also restrains Marlowe s use of colorful similes in his interior monologues, which became a clich in many of his imitators Compared to the earlier tales, Chandler is judicious here in the playful, sardonic banter Marlowe uses for dismaying and undermining his adversaries, part of his signature cool bravado in the face of danger The story begins with Marlowe helping his sensitive alcoholic friend Lennox escape to Mexico, with no questions asked Soon he learns his faithless, wealthy wife has been brutally murdered, with Lennox the prime suspect Marlowe stays mum during brutal police questioning and is held in jail for a few days His initial temptation to investigate the case as a possible frame is undermined by reports of Lennox s suicide and written confession The case comes up again when he begins to find links with another PI job A publisher tries to hire him to uncover the roots of a writer s block and violent behavior when drinking Though he turns the job down, the guy s seductive wife draws him into their situation A murder takes place that he might have prevented, putting Marlowe into high gear to solve the linked cases and foil the pervasive efforts of powerful forces to suppress the truth.Despite the troubles with alcohol that beset his two main characters and Chandler himself, he has a wonderful way of capturing the allure Marlowe finds in drinking with Lennox I like bars just after they open for the evening When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it I like to taste it slowly The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar that s wonderful I agreed with him Alcohol is like love, he said The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine After that you take the girl s clothes off Chandler s prose has some delights in capturing the casual attitudes of the rich on power of money I m a big bad man, Marlowe I make lots of dough I got to make lots of dough to juice the guys I got to juice in order to make lots of dough to juice the guys I got to juice.A rich businessmen has his formula for success nicely boiled down You can t have quality with mass production You don t want it because it lasts too long So you substitute styling, which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence Marlowe s jaded attitude about conventional justice is nicely expressed is this diatribe Let the law enforcement people do their own dirty work Let the lawyers work it out They write the laws for other lawyers to dissect in front of other lawyers to dissect in front of other lawyers called judges so that other judges can say the first judges were wrong and the Supreme Court can say the second lot were wrong Sure there s such as a thing as law We re up to our necks in it About all it does is make business for lawyers How long do you think the big shot mobsters would last if the lawyers didn t show them how to operate Chandler seems to have some fun with frustrations of the police over mental health concerns in society s response to crime You two characters been seeing any psychiatrists lately Jesus, Ohls said, hadn t you heard We got them in our hair all the time these days This ain t police business any It s getting to be a branch of the medical racket They re in and out of jail, the courts, the interrogation rooms They write reports fifteen pages long on why some punk of a juvenile held up a liquor store or raped a schoolgirl or peddled her to the senior class Ten years from now guys like Hernandez and me will be doing Rohrschach tests and word associations instead of chin ups and target practice.So you get the picture that there is a bit of preaching in this story But we often never sure which attitudes align with Chandler s own I choose to believe the following words of Marlowe are close to his own, and I appreciate the tongue in cheek aspects behind them You re a damn good cop, Bernie, but just the same you re all wet In one way cops are all the same They blame the wrong things Crime isn t a disease, it s a symptom Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumor, except that the cop would rather cure it with a blackjack We re a big tough rich wild people and crime is the price we pay for it, and organized crime is the price we pay for organization We ll have it with us for a long time Organized crime is just the dirty side of the sharp dollar What s the clean side I never saw it Let s have a drink Through this tale we get a dose of the metaphor for the detective as a cynical but good hearted agent who strives to address the social ills of corruption and greed with truth and justice But here the heroic aspects are infused with the tragic element of impotence in the face of rank consumerism and selfishness in society in the early 50s Altman as the director of the movie version in 1973 starring Elliot Gould as a surprise highlighted the existential and chaotic aspects of this outlook and put a Don Quixote like aspect to Marlowe s tilting at windmills.