Monday, April 4, 2016


                      late 1800’s – mid-1950

Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was a British-American novelist and screenwriter. At the age of forty-four, Chandler switched his career to write detective novels after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. He taught himself to write pulp fiction by studying the formula Erle Stanley Gardner used for Perry Mason.  

His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, featuring his famous Philip Marlowe detective character speaking in the first person.

In 1950, Chandler described in a letter to his English publisher why he began reading pulp magazines and then later wrote for them:

 "Wandering up and down the Pacific Coast in an 
    automobile I began to read pulp   magazines,   
   because they were cheap enough to throw away and because I never had at any time any taste for the kind of thing which is known as 
women's magazines. This was in the great days of the Black Mask (if I may call them  
great days) and it struck me that some of the 
writing was pretty forceful and honest, even 
though it had its crude aspect. I decided that 
this might be a good way to try to learn to  
 write fiction and get paid a small amount of  
 money at the same time. I spent five months 
 over an 18,000 word novelette and sold it for 
 $180. After that I never looked back, although I had a good many uneasy periods looking forward."

 Chandler published seven novels during his lifetime Some of Chandler's novels are considered important literary works, and three are often considered masterpieces: Farewell, My Loveley,  (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953).

Philip Marlowe is a fictional character created by Raymond Chandler. Marlowe first appeared under that name in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. Wikipedia
Seven actors played the part of detective, Philip Marlowe:
Dick Powell, “Murder, My Sweet” (1944)
Humphrey Bogart, “The Big Sleep” (1946)
James Garner, “Marlowe” (1969)

Elliott Gould, “The Long Goodbye” (1973)
Robert Mitchum, “Farewell, My Lovely” (1975) and 
“The Big Sleep” (1978)
Powers Boothe, “Philip Marlowe, Private Eye” (1983-1986)
Danny Glover, “Fallen Angels - Red Wind" (1995)

Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall
"The Big Sleep" 1946


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wouldn't that be cool to have so many of one's books made into movies?

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I love Raymond Chandler's mysteries. Everything about them: character, setting, plot movement. And they really are at a literary level. Reading his books is good training for any writer.

Karyn Good said...

I haven't read any of Raymond Chandler's books. I may have to rectify that!

Melissa Sugar said...

Raymond Chandler was the fist mystery writer I ever read and I became a fan and decided I wanted to one day become an author. My favorite novel of his is The Big Sleep. It's also one of my favorite movies. It's one of those movies I can watch over and over. It doesn't hurt that it stars Bogie & Bacall.

Cynthia said...

I haven't read The Big Sleep but I think I've seen spoofs and parodies of the novel around.

Liz A. said...

I am familiar with Raymond Chandler, but only via the movies, not his books. I should probably get around to reading him one of these days.

sage said...

I've never read him, but it is interesting how when unemployed, he "retooled" and became a writer