Raymond Chandler Books

Generally, the Great Depression was a disastrous phenomenon. However, it was a blessing in disguise for Raymond Chandler as it prompted him to put pen to paper and kick-started something that ultimately segued into an illustrious writing career. For starters, Raymond Chandler was a US man of letters, scenarist, First World War-era soldier, and one-time journalist. The penman, whose legal name was Raymond Thornton Chandler, was born in July 1888 in Chicago upon Illinois.

Order of Philip Marlowe Series

Order of Raymond Chandler Standalone Novels

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The scribbler spent his early childhood in Plattsmouth upon Nebraska and later on his single mother relocated the family to England wherein Chandler schooled at the London-based Dulwich College. Chandler, who passed away in March 1959, died in La Jolla upon California. In the run-up to his death, Chandler presided over Mystery Writers of America. Chandler’s niche was mystery (notably hard-boiled sub-genre) and thriller genres.

To labor the point, circumstances triggered Raymond Chandler’s writing ambitions. The decade-long economic crisis inconvenienced many employees among the Chandler who by then worked in the oil industry, holding an executive position in an oil firm. Chandler initially wrote poems before writing narrative prose.

An autodidactic learner, Raymond Chandler studied a plot formula written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Long story short, Raymond Chandler wrote his first noteworthy work, a short story, in the early 1930s and a pulp magazine published it. In the context of writing novels, Chandler debuted in 1939. Chandler ended up writing seven novel-length books and many short stories.

Raymond Chandler is renowned for penning Philip Marlowe series. The aforementioned series is composed of eight major works. There are 228 editions of the first book in the serialized work. The first edition was originally published in February 1939, titled The Big Sleep; the book is shelved under the mystery (particularly detective and noir sub-genres), fiction, crime, and classics genres.

The central character is named Philip Marlowe. Protagonist Marlowe is a six-footer, smoker, and alcoholic private eye; Marlowe likes coffee and plays chess. Marlowe’s place of birth is Santa Rosa upon California but his age varies from one novel to another. For instance, the first book points out that he is in his early thirties. Another installment in the series, which is set nearly one and a half decades later, shows that he is in his early forties. Despite the discrepancies, Chandler once stated that Marlowe was aged 38 as of April 1951.

The turning point in Raymond Chandler’s debut, The Big Sleep, is the moment detective Philip Marlowe is recruited by a certain ailing General Sternwood who is grappling with a blackmail issue concerning his daughter, a party animal named Carmen. The ensuing story as Marlowe goes into the murky world of organized crime, travels to places strewn with corpses, and leaves dead people in his wake, is intriguing in this hard-boiled award-nominated debut.

Raymond Chandler Awards

In 1955, Raymond Chandler clinched the Edgar Award for his book named The Long Goodbye. In 2000, Chandler was posthumously nominated for the Anthony Award, in the Novel of the Century category, thanks to his 1939 book The Big Sleep. Did you know that there is an Italian literary award named after Raymond Chandler?

Raymond Chandler Books into Movies

These are the most notable film adaptations of Raymond Chandler’s work. In the 1946 film titled The Big Sleep, the starring is Humphrey Bogart who portrays Philip Marlowe. In the 1975 film titled Farewell, My Lovely, Robert Mitchum appears as Philip Marlowe. In the 1973 film The Long Goodbye, Elliot Gould acts as Marlowe’s role. In the 1969 film Marlowe, based on the Chandler’s 1949 book The Little Sister, James Garner appears as Philip Marlowe. Robert Montgomery appears as Marlowe in the 1949 film Lady in the Lake. Dick Powell is Marlowe in the 1944 film titled Murder, My Sweet.

Best Raymond Chandler Books

The Big Sleep aside, these are the other two best books in Raymond Chandler’s bibliography.

The Long Goodbye: hereby, Marlowe makes an ill-thought move when he makes acquaintance with a damnable war veteran, prompting both law enforcers and criminals to come after him.

Farewell, My Lovely: Marlowe’s involvement with a prison escapee puts him at the center of a series of murders, organized crime, and an out-and-out corrupt police force.

Other Book Series You May Like

Readers who liked Raymond Chandler’s literary series also liked these book series. In James Ellroy’s tetralogy, “L.A. Quartet” series, Los Angeles Police Department detectives are sleuthing a series of gory murders. Richard Stark’s 24-book “Parker” series features an expert robber named Parker. Chester Himes’ 9-book “Harlem Cycle” series is set in the backdrop of Harlem and features badass protagonists Coffin Ed alongside Grave Digger Jones.