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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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1,481235,022 (3.93)69
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. 11
    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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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I love this series. Absolutely. If modern American crime writers could write like this, my tbr pile would be beyond overflowing.

If you want a little more about this book than what I've written here, you can click here and read about it at my reading journal. Otherwise, read on.

Like all of the Chandler novels so far, The Little Sister has a plot that is once again overly convoluted and overly complex, but Chandler is in rare form here, having Marlowe spill his guts about the city, his job, the people and even the state of California.

Marlowe is back in #615 Cahuenga "stalking the bluebottle fly" that's been buzzing around him for a while, when in walks Orfamay Quest, of whom Marlowe notes "nobody ever looked less like Lady Macbeth." She's not Marlowe's usual fare -- no make up, and rimless glasses that "gave her that librarian's look." Hailing from the small town of Manhattan, Kansas, Orfamay wants Marlowe to find her brother Orrin. He came to Bay City a year earlier, and the last Orfamay and her mother heard from him was several months earlier. Now they're worried about him. Marlowe starts his search for Orrin at his last known address, and once again, our hero finds himself heading down the usual tangential road into a case that puts him smack into the glitz, glitter, and moral ugliness of Hollywood, a killer with a penchant for icepicks, corrupt cops, good cops who bemoan the sorts of criminals the city draws, drugs and blackmail. It also leaves Marlowe feeling very, very low.

Once again, Chandler's descriptions of Los Angeles are at peak form, both positive and negative. Marlowe reflects and waxes melancholy on the case, Hollywood, the city and himself, with Marlowe at his most somber state of all of the novels so far. But, while the plot is once again complex enough to keep a file on who's who, how they're connected, etc. etc., I just love the sardonic cynicism of Marlowe. I also found myself for the first time in the series feeling sorry for the guy. I cannot speak highly enough of these novels -- they are some of the most literary crime novels ever written. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | Feb 21, 2014 |
Not Chandler's best work. This is a PI novel where everyone dies, so you can just read along until 1 person is left standing. A sort of "And Then There Was One." Even so, great Chandler dialogue and language. ( )
  JeffreyMarks | Jul 11, 2013 |
London: Hamilton Hamish, 1969. First thus. Hardcover with dust jacket. Part of the Fingerprint series of reprints. Signed by Helga Greene on the front free end paper. Helga Greene was Raymond chandler's literary agent and fiance towards the end of Chandler's life. When Chandler died in 1959 she was the executrix and heir of Chandler's estate.
  songx | May 14, 2013 |
Raymond Chandler's writing is still the most amazing stuff I've ever seen, don't get me wrong. This book seemed a little more worn than the others -- or maybe I'm getting more used to it. I still love the voice he's given to Marlowe, and I still think his work is probably worth reading no matter what, but this one didn't fill me with glee. It's easy to read, it's atmospheric, the actual writing is good, but... the plot is incoherent (no surprises there) and the characters, particularly the women, don't interest me at all.

It's the whole time capsule thing again -- the setting and atmosphere is one of a time I don't know, won't ever know. That's interesting, up to a point, but it doesn't count for that much. The female characters actively irritated me this time, all histrionic and taking advantage of our dear shop-worn Galahad. It's amazing the way said Galahad gets himself out of trouble. I'm surprised he hasn't spent more time being arrested in the course of all these novels.

I'd love to see Marlowe meet a decent woman or two. At this point, one would do. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
After reading and browsing through all of the previous posts about this novel I am not sure that I can add anything new or useful, however, I will try.

This is not the strongest or the best Marlowe, however, as with its brethren, it is not so much the story, but the dialogue and the setting. Marlowe's witty ("crack wise") views on life, and his surrounds, plus the colourful (I believe that is the term) characters that he meets, and interacts with, make this again a humorous dark read.

Every Marlowe story is like this. There is a complex detective mystery, never resolved until the final pages, but this is not the story. The story is about Marlowe and the dark and gritty world in which he makes his living.

I would recommend that anyone who has not read this story do so, but don't make this your first Marlowe. Happy reading. ( )
  Traveller1 | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Chandlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:51 -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 6 descriptions

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