(Chicago, July 23, 1888,— La Jolla, March 26, 1959).
American author of detective fiction, the creator of the private detective Philip Marlowe, whom he characterized as a poor but honest upholder of ideals in an opportunistic and sometimes brutal society in Los Angeles. From 1896 to 1912 Chandler lived in England with his mother, a British subject of Irish birth. Having returned to California in 1919, he prospered as a petroleum company executive until the Great Depression of the 1930s, when he turned to writing for a living. From 1943 he was a Hollywood screenwriter. Chandler completed seven novels, all with Philip Marlowe as hero: The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943), The Little Sister (1949), The Long Goodbye (1953), and Playback (1958). The most popular film version of Chandler’s work was The Big Sleep (1946), starring Humphrey Bogart, a film noir classic.
The Big Sleep
Of Raymond Chandler's seven detective novels, his first, The Big Sleep (1939), is arguably his best. The story is structurally and thematically unified, the characters fully developed, and the style distinctive and sharp. Although it would be years before the novel received the critical recognition it deserved, the publication of The Big Sleep was a landmark in the history of the American hard-boiled detective novel.
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