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The Little Sister: A Philip Marlowe Mystery…

The Little Sister: A Philip Marlowe Mystery (original 1949; edition 2010)

by Raymond Chandler, Val McDermid (Introduction)

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1,689294,227 (3.94)70
Title:The Little Sister: A Philip Marlowe Mystery
Authors:Raymond Chandler
Other authors:Val McDermid (Introduction)
Info:Penguin (2010), Edition: Re-issue, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, 20th century
Tags:fiction, crime, california, los angeles

Work details

The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (1949)

  1. 22
    The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (btuckertx)
    btuckertx: If you enjoyed The Little Sister, you're going to love The Big Sleep!
  2. 01
    Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: If you liked the more noir-ish voice Crais comes back to here, give Chandler a go - TLS is his best IMO.

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» See also 70 mentions

English (26)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All (29)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
I have never been disappointed by Raymond Chandler's writings. ( )
  phillipfrey | Apr 15, 2017 |
The archetypal Raymond Chandler/Philip Marlowe detective story. This one has everything you associate with this particular sub-genre of crime fiction; if you were to give evidence of detective pulp, The Little Sister would be Exhibit A. The seedy towns, the vicious mobsters, the duplicitous dames and last but not least the hard-worn, down-and-out detective. Marlowe's world-weary voice in the prose is a great thing to experience, a real treat for the reader, and The Little Sister shows it at its best.

The plot itself is not as clear as the previous book, The Lady in the Lake, but it is still solid and engaging as Chandler's plots go. I love the crapsack nature of Chandler's seedy Bay City and L.A. ("You can live a long time in Hollywood and never see the part they use in pictures" (pg. 126)). I love the sad-sack demeanour of his protagonist ("My brain felt like a bucket of wet sand" (pg. 105)). And I love the sapped-by-a-blackjack approach of this detective to his cases. "You're not exactly proud of the way you have handled things, are you, Marlowe?" a cop asks him on pages 269-70 as the dust settles. "I got off on the wrong foot," Marlowe replies. "After that I just had to take my lumps." It's a riotously entertaining approach to crime fiction, part bull in a china-shop and part poking the hornet's nest to see what comes out.

As Val McDermid says in her introduction, it is a case "where everything that can go wrong does go wrong and where every choice our private eye hero makes turns out to be disastrous" (pg. v). It is almost Shakespearean in that sense, totally real and yet just enough apart from reality for us to admire the drama of it. Chandler himself is fully aware of this; Marlowe as narrator talks often of 'stage' and 'characters' and 'dialogue', and of the young, innocent, wide-eyed female client who first employs Marlowe and gets the story started, he says "nobody ever looked less like Lady Macbeth" (pg. 4). If not breaking the fourth wall, then he is at least running his hand along it and admiring the brickwork. And for all the dynamite similes and colourful supporting characters, this is Marlowe's stage and we love having him there. ( )
3 vote MikeFutcher | Mar 20, 2017 |
This looked like a good story (crime, thriller) and it was a good audio book. Narrator was clear although some character voices were similar at times. What I did not realise was that it is an old book. Set in days when a packet of cigarettes cost 'a quarter', a phone call a 'nickel', a private investigators worked for $40 a day plus expenses and an actor was well paid earning somewhere between $15,000 and $35,000 per movie. Wikipedia has just dated it as a 1949 novel.

All this aside it was worth listening to and I would like to read/listen to more of Raymond Chandler's novels when the occasion arises. ( )
  DCarlin | Jun 27, 2016 |
Chandler is one of my favourite authors and his tough talking Philip Marlowe is classic. But then that has all been said before.

A plain Jane comes into his office and wants to hire him to find her brother for $20. She thinks he has gotten himself into trouble and she has come out from Manhattan, Kansas to find out.

This simple case is not so simple. Murder and Mayhem are partners in this mystery along with Twist and Turn. An actress on the edge of stardom, a Spanish spitfire, a big shot Hollywood agent and a mobster from Cleveland are just some of the characters in the cast. Are they what they really seem? It is Hollywood, after all... ( )
1 vote ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
love these "oldie" private detective stories.
  carolynsuarez | Jan 12, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Chandlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
HavankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The pebbled glass door panel is lettered in flaked black paint: 'Phililp Marlowe... Investigations'. It is a reasonably shabby door at the end of a reasonably shabby corridor in the sort of building that was new about the year the all-tile bathroom became the basis of civilization. The door is locked, but next to it is another door with the same legend which is not locked. Come on in - there's nobody in here but me and a big bluebottle fly. But not if you're from Manhattan, Kansas.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'The Little Sister' was republished as 'Marlowe'.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039475767X, Paperback)

A movie starlet with a gangster boyfriend and a pair of siblings with a shared secret lure Marlowe into the less than glamorous and more than a little dangerous world of Hollywood fame. Chandler's first foray into the industry that dominates the company town that is Los Angeles.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:03 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Little Sister" appears in Philip Marlowe's office--pathetic, appealing but with something strangely phony about her, and Marlowe finds himself in the center of a succession of curious and violent happenings.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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