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“When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I intend that it should stay split.” 9/ Riddled by eczema, Chandler typed his novels wearing white gloves.10/ His final novel Poodle Springs – in which Marlowe is married – was left unfinished when he died in 1959 and was later completed by crime writer Robert B. Emboldened by his encounter with Marlowe, Parker – brave man – wrote a sequel to The Big Sleep called Perchance To Dream.
At the age of 12 he moved with his parents to South London, and was educated at Dulwich College, where he resided at, yes, Marlowe House.
Becoming a British citizen, he worked in the civil service and as a journalist before moving back to the States in 1912.
And Marlowe, like other archetypes of the genre such as Holmes and Bond, continues to live on long after Chandler’s death.
The Black Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black – the crime-writing name of Booker winner John Banville – is published next year.
Raymond Chandler was one of the most influential American crime-writers of all time.
His battered, moral, cynical detective Philip Marlowe has become an archetype of the genre, endlessly recycled and referenced. 1/ A quintessentially American author, Chandler spent much of his early life in England.4/ His essay The Simple Art Of Murder from 1950 is one of the defining texts about crime fiction.He extols the virtue of the Black Mask school of hard-boiled detective novels while putting the boot into what he saw as contrived and formulaic English countryhouse murder mysteries.The novel opens with private eye Philip Marlowe coming to the rescue of a drunk named Terry Lennox as he is unceremoniously dumped in a nightclub parking lot by his ex-wife Sylvia.With Marlowe’s assistance, and that of Las Vegas casino operators Mendy Menendez and Randy Starr with whom Lennox served during World War II, he gets back on his feet.He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor.5/ Chandler’s adventures in Hollywood were unhappy.There were a number of prototypes of the character in Chandler’s many short stories, variously named Mallory, John Dalmas and Ted Carmady.When Chandler later compiled those early stories he simply changed the name of his various protagonists to Marlowe. Most of his novels were cannibalized from various short stories.He remarries Sylvia, but continues to meet Marlowe periodically for drinks.Then late one night he appears at Marlowe’s door and asks to be driven to Tijuana.