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The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler
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The Lady in the Lake (1943)

by Raymond Chandler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Philip Marlowe (4)

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2,534503,718 (4.03)82
"Derace Kingsley's wife ran away to Mexico to get a quickie divorce and marry a Casanova-wannabe named Chris Lavery. Or so the note she left her husband insisted. Trouble is, when Philip Marlowe asks Lavery about it he denies everything and sends the private investigator packing with a flea lodged firmly in his ear. But when Marlowe next encounters Lavery, he's denying nothing-- on account of the two bullet holes in his heart. Now Marlowe's on the trail of a killer, who leads him out of smoggy LA all the way to a murky mountain lake..." --… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Chandler's Philip Marlowe is the ultimate world weary detective, here conveyed via a serpentine plot. Almost poetic descriptions and deft characterizations lift this above the genre Chandler helped create. All Chandler is good, this sets about middle of the pack for his writing. The Long Goodbye being my favorite. A Los Angeles location of swank pads of the wealthy and seedy hotels where the rick rendevous with their dark appetites and the long dark streets and usually lead through empty streets and into the hills above LA...away from the lights and the police and often morality. A missing wife leads to another missing wife that may be linked or simply not what they seem. Who we are is often not limited to the name we carry. ( )
  KurtWombat | Sep 15, 2019 |
I liked this quite well. Getting into it was a bit difficult because I was still having issues with the unsatisfactory ending of Blonde Faith. But, once that was behind me, I got into the book. The final resolution was a bit convoluted, but not too bad.

Basically, Philip Marlowe is asked to help a rich guy find his missing wife. She'd been gone for a month before he got suspicious that something might be amiss, but then he did and brought Marlowe into the picture. Marlowe started up with a lake-side cabin where the spouse was want to hide out. In poking around, they discovered a body in the lake, presumed to be that of the caretaker's wife, who had gone missing at the same time. Well, the bodies of gigolos and hoods pile up, there are corrupt cops, there is a doctor who makes his living making evening house calls, delivering dope to his clients, etc. All the fine stuff of noire fiction. A great read.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
A seemingly routine case where a man wants to find his reckless wife becomes complicated, of course, by hushed-up murders, blackmail, and police corruption, when the body of a woman is discovered in Little Fawn Lake.

If he hadn't already displayed full confidence after 'The Big Sleep' in 'Stories and Early Novels', I would say that Chandler had come into his own here. His work keeps getting better and better. What distinguishes 'The Lady in Lake' is that Chandler can inject reality into his smart-mouthed, noir L.A. and the characters survive. There has always been humor involved in the stories and novels, and its not a proper Marlowe case if he doesn't get the shit kicked out of him at least once by the police, but the broader spectrum of people Marlowe encounters seem to actually appreciate how hilarious he is, and even better, attempts to spar with him are met with varying degrees of success. So funny. Especially for those of us who tend to lack the right word at crucial moments.

The plot and characters fit seamlessly together, each character smoothly carrying out their function, raising or dispelling suspicion, eking out a few coins for what they can offer or displaying rare moments of honesty. The contrasts between L.A. and the remote country community, and the corrupting influence of the city were interesting, too. That balance meant that there weren't the standouts that I noticed in 'The High Window', but makes 'The Lady in the Lake' a stronger novel overall.

Philip Marlowe

Next: 'The Little Sister'

Previous 'The High Window'

Review of 'Later Novels and Other Writings' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
A private detective looks for a woman and finds some bodies.

3/4 (Good).

Marlowe isn't as persistently amusing as he is in his first few novels. He has his moments, but mostly the book is allowed to focus on the plot, which is never Chandler's strength. ( )
  comfypants | Oct 28, 2018 |
I figured out the ending early on. That did not make the story less enjoyable. Chandler always transports me to another time and place. His time. His place. And Marlowe. You can't go wrong. ( )
1 vote dh-writer | Nov 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond Chandlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tormey, JamesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Treloar Building was, and is, on Olive Street, near Sixth, on the west side. The sidewalk in front of it had been built of black and white rubber blocks. They were taking them up now to give to the government, and a hatless pale man with a face like a building superintendent was watching the work and looking as if it was breaking his heart.
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This is the 1943 novel that was based on a 1939 short story with the same title. Please do not combine the novel and the short story.
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140108947, 0141399333, 0241956323

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