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The Little Sister (1949)

by Raymond Chandler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Philip Marlowe (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,190515,786 (3.89)87
Her name is Orfamay Quest and she's come all the way from Manhattan, Kansas, to find her missing brother Orrin. Or leastways that's what she tells PI Philip Marlowe, offering him a measly twenty bucks for the privilege. But Marlowe's feeling charitable - though it's not long before he wishes he wasn't so sweet. You see, Orrin's trail leads Marlowe to luscious movie starlets, uppity gangsters, suspicious cops and corpses with ice picks jammed in their necks. When trouble comes calling, sometimes it's best to pretend to be out ...… (more)
  1. 32
    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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English (47)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Both Chandler & Hammett feature many a woman who appears sweet & harmless on the surface but who turns out to be homicidally manipulative underneath. This is probably Chandler's magnum opus along those lines. I wonder if any feminist critiques have ever been written about such novels? The women are far from weak & submissive but they're hardly positive either. ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
The Little Sister (Marlowe #5) (1949) by Raymond Chandler. Yet another great book from the typewriter of Chandler. As usual, don’t try to follow the plot too closely, just relax and enjoy the characters and the writing. Marlowe is asked by a prim young woman from Kansas to track down her brother. He’s been in California for a while now but his family have stopped hearing from him.
Marlowe heads out to the last known residence of the young man, but he has flown the coop. And there is an icepick murder happening while Marlowe is there so the cops become interested in him. A lot of things happen and there are drugs and sex and more death as the case progresses. You know, the standard.
But, as with all Chandler’s novels, the writing is far from standard. And while you may have trouble following all the twists, I’ve always felt that makes the book more realistic than when the hero can always decipher all that is happening about him or her. After all, do you always know why things happen around you? I know I don’t, and that is when I know that most people are telling me the truth. With Marlowe, almost no-one likes to tell him the truth, although they sometimes hint about it.
Yet another great read from the master, just not quite five star material. ( )
  TomDonaghey | Dec 15, 2021 |
Orfamay Quest wants Marlowe to find her brother Orrin. He has been laid off from his job and moved away from his lodgings. It doesn't take Marlowe long to come across his first, but not last dead body.
An entertaining and well-written mystery as you would expect from Chandler. An enjoyable re-read. ( )
  Vesper1931 | Jul 29, 2021 |
Not as good as many of his others. But it's still Chandler, so still pretty good. ( )
  evenlake | Mar 23, 2021 |
Though not the most popular of the Marlowe books, “The Little Sister” has undoubtedly the smoothest prose of the series thus far, and one of the most complex mysteries, which kept me guessing right up to the end and didn’t sacrifice its themes for plot. However, there are definitely sloppy moments: at one point a character is mentioned and Marlowe alludes to her being talked about in a previous conversation, but in fact this character had NOT been mentioned and this is the first appearance of her name. Also, there are unnecessary moments that are hard not to read as antisemitic and homophobic, even giving the book leeway for having been written in 1949 by a 60-year-old. That said, what I appreciated most about it was how Chandler has allowed his hero to evolve. I think this entry in the series is underrated, probably because it lacks the action of some of the earlier books, and drops some of the hardboiled staples, lettings its protagonist be sadly worn down and unable to control much of the events that take place. But to me, this shows Chandler expanding his ability to present the world as he sees it, not control it to his whims, and even when I don’t care for his assessments of the world his character inhabits, it’s easy to see how he arrived at them. It really does further the series in a natural way, and I’m glad I didn’t skip over it just because I hadn’t heard much about it. ( )
  greggmaxwellparker | Mar 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chandler, Raymondprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
HavankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyytäjä, KaleviTranslatorsecondary 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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'The Little Sister' was republished as 'Marlowe'.
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Her name is Orfamay Quest and she's come all the way from Manhattan, Kansas, to find her missing brother Orrin. Or leastways that's what she tells PI Philip Marlowe, offering him a measly twenty bucks for the privilege. But Marlowe's feeling charitable - though it's not long before he wishes he wasn't so sweet. You see, Orrin's trail leads Marlowe to luscious movie starlets, uppity gangsters, suspicious cops and corpses with ice picks jammed in their necks. When trouble comes calling, sometimes it's best to pretend to be out ...

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