Dames and guns

January 4th

What a great little book. I knew it was a classic of American literature, but only yesterday I finally get to read it. And that was a book I just couldn’t put down once I started reading it. I had to know what happens on the next page and the next and the next…. The writing is tight; the story is tight; the dialogue is tight. No unnecessary words, descriptions, or musing. It gets right to the point. And the point is that crime might be fun for a while, but it doesn’t really pay — especially if you are a stooge and a sucker. Of course — if you are at the top of the crime chain you might be practically untouchable, but still, you need to watch your back all the time for the rest of the time. Especially with detective Marlowe on the case. Otherwise, your time might just end or become deeply unpleasant.

Raymond Chandler was an amazing wordsmith. Maybe because he knew from the get-go that what he wrote was not to be in any way pretentious or highbrow. Just a pulp dark noir mystery crime story. And boy, could he put quotable words and phrases together:

  • “It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.”
  • “Tall, aren’t you?” she said. “I didn’t mean to be.”
  • “Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form in self on the edge of consciousness.”
  • “Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.”
  • “He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn’t owe too much money.”
  • “I sat down on the edge of a deep soft chair and looked at Mrs Regan. She was worth a stare. She was trouble.”
  • “Mr Cobb was my escort. Such a nice escort, Mr Cobb. So attentive. You should see him sober. I should see him sober. Somebody should see him sober. I mean, just for the record. So it could become a part of history, that brief flashing moment, soon buried in time, but never forgotten — when Larry Cobb was sober.”
  • “I thought that was silly as soon as I thought of it.”
  • “I was as empty of life as a scarecrow’s pockets.”
  • “Whoever had done it had meant business. Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”
  • “I was playing for time. Just for time. I played the wrong way, of course.”

I have never made so many notes while reading a book before. I don’t remember when I actually had so much fun reading a book and then spending so much pleasant time thinking about the story and plot and the dialogue. A true gem of the book and all other crime mystery thrillers are just a more or less pale imitation. A book that created the whole genre and still is at the top.

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“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.

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footsteps of the Furies

footsteps of the Furies

“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.

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