Autodidact: self-taught

Mar
03
2012

The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler

by V. L. Craven

[This post is from a previous blog]

Prompted by a friend, I picked up Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake , which is the first Chandler and first noir I’ve read and hoo boy, what fun! Marlowe, a gumshoe in the classic sense, is hired to find the wife of a wealthy man–she’s been missing for a month and he doesn’t want any bad publicity if she’s done something stupid. While looking for her the body of another woman surfaces…and the two are more closely tied than originally thought.

Mistaken identity, plot twists, characters with panache, and a way with language that’s precise and amusing.

Until reading this I hadn’t realised how noir-ish the Bookman series by John Dunning is. I highly recommend The Lady in the Lake to fans of that series.

Some of my favourite quotes:

–Six feet of a standard type of homewrecker. Arms to hold you close and all his brains in his face.

– “I’ve never liked this scene,” I said. “Detective confronts murderer. Murderer produces gun, points same at detective. Murderer tells detective the whole sad story, with the idea of shooting him at the end ofi ti. Thus wasting a lot of valuable time, even if in the end the murderer did shoot detective. Only murderer never does. Something always happens to prevent it. The gods don’t like this scene either. They always manage to spoil it.”

–I smelled of gin. Not just casually, as if I had taken four or five drinks of a winter morning to get out of bed on, but as if the Pacific Ocean was pure gin and I had nosedived off the boat deck. The gin was in my hair and eyebrows, on my chin and under my chin. It was on my shirt. I smelled like dead toads.

–”One moment, please. Whom did you wish to see?”
Degarmo spun on his heel and looked at me wonderingly. “Did he say ‘whom’?”
Yeah, but don’t hit him,” I said. “There is such a word.”
Degarmo licked his lips. “I knew there was,” he said. “I often wondered where they kept it…”

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