Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep (original 1939; edition 1988)

by Raymond Chandler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,439167597 (3.99)462
Title:The Big Sleep
Authors:Raymond Chandler
Info:Vintage (1988), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 139 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)

1930s (5)
Read (47)
Unread books (1,058)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 462 mentions

English (160)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
The Big Sleep has a neatly woven plot that moves forward at a good pace with rich characters and superb dialogue.
It's an outstanding debut novel, that set the standard for hard-boiled, down on their luck detectives, and sensual, cynical dames. ( )
  ajsendall | Apr 5, 2015 |
The Big Sleep has a neatly woven plot that moves forward at a good pace with rich characters and superb dialogue.
It's an outstanding debut novel, that set the standard for hard-boiled, down on their luck detectives, and sensual, cynical dames. ( )
  ajsendall | Apr 5, 2015 |
Pretty early on I could tell this book was not for me. I thought I would love the noir style of writing but I hated it and half way through I had to give up. Life is too short to persevere with books you just don't like. ( )
  KittyBimble | Feb 12, 2015 |
One of the original hard boiled private detectives, Chandler's Philip Marlowe epitomizes the early twentieth century gritty gumshoe. One of the first - and certainly best - of the noir style, The Big Sleep provides a look into the thinking, language and culture of that time period as well. This was cutting-edge story telling in its time, and it has held up better than most in the eighty years since it publication. Definitely worth reading for any crime reader. It give a great perspective on where thousands of writers found their inspiration. Looking forward to reading more. ( )
  csayban | Dec 30, 2014 |
Raymond Chandler is a grand master of the hardboiled crime novel, and The Big Sleep is his first novel starring Los Angeles private investigator Philip Marlowe. Filled with duplicity, misrepresentation, and danger, The Big Sleep has made many lists of best books, including Time Magazine's List of 100 Best Novels.

General Sternwood calls in PI Philip Marlowe to stop a blackmail attempt against his youngest daughter Carmen. But it is Sternwood's oldest daughter, Vivian, who intrigues Marlowe. As he investigates Carmen's case, Marlowe stumbles into the world of pornography, kidnapping, and murder. Just as he thinks the matter is closed, the recent disappearance of Vivian's husband draws him back into the Sternwood family's web. Dark family secrets come to light as the femme fatale is revealed in this classic crime noir novel. ( )
  ktoonen | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» 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

Is contained in

Has the (non-series) sequel

Has the adaptation


Has as a study

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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?

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

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.99)
0.5 3
1 13
1.5 3
2 60
2.5 14
3 301
3.5 123
4 674
4.5 84
5 492


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140108920, 014118261X, 0141037598

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,694,871 books! | Top bar: Always visible