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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
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The Big Sleep (original 1939; edition 1988)

by Raymond Chandler

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6,212163654 (3.99)437
Member:kylenapoli
Title:The Big Sleep
Authors:Raymond Chandler
Info:Vintage (1988), Paperback, 139 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)

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English (156)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
I actually read Farewell, My Lovely (his second book) first, so I was a bit rearranged in Marlowe's timeline. But it doesn't really matter--Chandler hits it out of the park again.

This time, Marlowe is assisting a millionaire invalid whose two daughters just can't seem to stay out of trouble. We have the shady dames, nogoodniks, twisty plots, and completely gorgeous language that are the Chandler hallmarks.

I would have loved to see Southern California in the 1930s and 1940s--with Chandler, I feel like I have. Read this one, too, people. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
It was impossible to read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and not think of the 1946 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. So in my mind, Phillip Marlowe was Bogart. This is a darkly driven piece with some of the best dialogue lines ever. Politically incorrect - yes, but lines that resonate and get to the heart of the matter.

“You’re the second guy I’ve met within hours who seems to think a gat in the hand
means a world by the tail.”

“I’m not a tough guy - just careful. I don’t know hell’s first whisper about you.”

Private Investigator Phillip Marlowe is hired by the patriarch of a extremely wealth family to look into a few matters for him and before he is through investigating all the different angles, he’s come across blackmail, murder, and two sisters who keep him hopping.

“You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women.”

This was my first Raymond Chandler book and I enjoyed every minute with the iconic P.I. Phillip Marlowe. An intricate plot, the dark and moody setting, and the above mentioned stylized writing really help to define The Big Sleep as the classic noir novel that it is. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jul 9, 2014 |
A rich invalid hires private detective Philip Marlowe to investigate the man who is blackmailing him. One of his client's daughters assumes that her father has hired Marlowe to find her missing husband, Regan. Marlowe ends up investigating both the blackmail and the missing Regan, uncovering a pornography ring and several murders along the way. Marlowe's investigation appeared to reach a conclusion about halfway through the book. Unfortunately, he kept on going.

Hard boiled detective novels are way out of my comfort zone. I like mystery novels when the detective is trying to discover the criminal beneath a facade of innocence. I don't really enjoy investigations where all of the suspects are of a criminal bent and the detective is trying to determine which one's rap sheet to add to. Not even the victims are sympathetic in my estimation. However, I was willing to hold my nose and endure it since this is a classic of the genre.

The audio recording I listened to didn't make the book any more appealing. Whether by direction or by his own choice, Elliott Gould read in an almost expressionless monotone most of the time. I think he should have been aiming for sardonic or wry. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jul 4, 2014 |
Private eye Philip Marlowe is hired by a millionaire to track down a blackmailer and gets entangled with his spoiled daughters and a bunch of seedy characters.

This is the first hard-boiled mystery I've read, and I was pleasantly surprised. Chandler's writing style is very engaging, and his voice remains unique, even after all these years. In his sparse prose, Chandler precisely evokes the noir world he's describing, whether it's the lavishly decorated bedroom of a poor rich girl or a foggy Los Angeles night. Marlowe himself is always ready with a quip as he follows the leads and his hunches through the LA underworld, where the ground is littered with the corpses of red herrings. Although I find it hard to believe that he really did manage that miraculous escape and rescue while handcuffed, I loved Marlowe's character, the lone guy with his own code of ethics operating in a world where pretty much everyone is tainted. It's fun to read a novel that generated so many tropes and see where they came from. I enjoyed my initial foray into classic noir.

Read for the 2014 Mystery Category Challenge (May 2014). ( )
1 vote sturlington | Jun 3, 2014 |
I really liked this book. Great descriptions, juicy similes. This is really the book that defined the hard-boiled detective fiction genre as we know it. ( )
  qaphsiel | May 11, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Chandlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Del Buono, OresteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gould, ElliottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidder, HarveyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortlepp, GunarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
Quotations
Such a lot of guns around town, and so few brains.
Whoever had done it had meant business. Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
It had the austere simplicity of fiction rather than the tangled woof of fact.
What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.
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Book description
Plot Summary: The decrepit General Sternwood hires Detective Marlowe to investigate Geiger, the man who is blackmailing him. Marlowe discovers Geiger is running a pornography lending library under the front of an antique book store. Marlowe tries to confront Geiger, but finds Geiger dead along with evidence that Geiger has been taking nude photos of Sternwood’s youngest daughter Carmen. While Marlowe takes the drugged Carmen home, Geiger’s body disappears along with the photographic evidence. As one murder leads to another, Marlowe must follow the clues to protect the Sternwood family from its own dark secrets.
Appeal Factors: Private investigator subgenre. Narrated in the first-person by Marlowe. Primary characters are complex. The atmosphere is dark and brooding. The frame highlights the dark underbelly of L.A. The language is succinct, but very descriptive; powerful, gritty and realistic. Action scenes are suspenseful and fairly fast-paced, with space for reflection in between. The reader is drawn in as Marlowe uncovers each new layer of clues. Violent, but not graphic.
Haiku summary
General's daughters
are handful for Marlowe.....but
who did slay chauffeur?
(abbottthomas)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394758285, Paperback)

"His thin, claw-like hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock." Published in 1939, when Raymond Chandler was 50, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe novels. Its bursts of sex, violence, and explosively direct prose changed detective fiction forever. "She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong-looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle. She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When a case of blackmail involving the daughter of a California millionaire leads to murder, the inimitable Philip Marlowe is stirred into action as he becomes embroiled in a troublesome case of extortion complicated by kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140108920, 014118261X, 0141037598

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