Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler is my favorite author, and yet it's been ten years since I read any of his works.  Silly me!

I needed to take a book along on our vacation last month, but never got around to picking one until the morning we were going to leave.  I was in the mood for something a bit spicier than Jane Austen, so grabbed the first Chandler book I couldn't remember the plot to.  It was The Long Goodbye.

I lost count of how many times while reading this I exclaimed, "I love Raymond Chandler!"  Oh, how I love his writing.  But why?  Because it's so unexpected, so full of unusual-yet-perfect descriptions.  I blogged about his writing here many years ago, so I won't go into all that again.

In The Long Goodbye, gumshoe Phillip Marlowe befriends an alcoholic, down-and-out war hero named Terry Lennox.  Terry winds up in big trouble -- his philandering wife is dead, and of course everyone would suspect him.  Marlowe helps Terry across the border to Mexico.  And then he spends the rest of the book trying to figure out who really did kill the wife, why the whole case has been hushed up, and just what being a true friend entails.

Chandler's singing, swinging prose goes down easier than a gimlet with lime juice in a Hollywood bar.  I often have to stop reading to savor a line or phrase, lest they slide past me in my eagerness to find out what happens next.  If you want to add a mystery to your summer reading list, do yourself a favor and make it one of his.

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