I first picked up The Big Sleep last month and completely fell head over heels into the world of Philip Marlowe, private detective, who says things like: "I like to drink, but not when people are using me for a diary."
So I was delighted to see Later Novels and Other Writings, although not on the crime/mystery shelves in the library but in the general adult fiction section. It has a great collection of his work, such as The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister and The Long Goodbye, all once again starring the delightful Marlowe:
"A private eye wants to play ball with the police. Sometimes it's a little hard to find out who's making the rules of the ball game. Sometimes he doesn't trust the police, and with cause. Sometimes he just gets in a jam without meaning to and has to play his hand out the way it's dealt. He'd usually rather have a new deal. He'd like to keep on earning a living."
His characters are raw and so easily imaginable, and his scenes and details, are just such a thrill to read, as Chandler is a genius in bringing it all to life, perhaps even larger than life:
"Why do I go into such detail? Because the charged atmosphere made every little thing stand pit as a performance, a movement distinct and vastly important. It was one of those hypersensitive moments when all your automatic movements, however long established, however habitual, become separate acts of will. You are like a man learning to walk after polio. You take nothing for granted, absolutely nothing at all."All thoroughly enjoyable pageturners. This collection also contains his screenplay Double Indemnity and I was thrilled to find out that it's available on Netflix's instant viewing list, and I can't wait to see how it'll look on the screen.
As for the 'romance' shelves? I don't think I'm going to take a crack at that yet. If ever.