Philip Marlowe's on a case: his client, a dried-up husk of a woman, wants him to recover a rare gold coin called a Brasher Doubloon, missing from her late husband's collection.
That's the simple part. It becomes more complicated when Marlowe finds that everyone who handles the coin suffers a run of very bad luck: they always end up dead. That's also unlucky for a private investigator, because leaving a trail of corpses around LA gets cops' noses out of joint.
If Marlowe doesn't wrap this one up fast, he's going to end up in jail - or worse, in a box in the ground...
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and moved to England with his family when he was 12. He attended Dulwich College, Alma Mater to some of the 20th century's most renowned writers. Returning to America in 1912, he settled in California, worked in a number of jobs, and later married.
It was during the Depression era that he seriously turned his hand to writing and his first published story appeared in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1933, followed six years later by his first novel. The Big Sleep introduced the world to Philip Marlowe, the often imitated but never-bettered hard-boiled private investigator. It is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand - and under the influence of Raymond Chandler's addictive prose that every crime author must write.
"Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence" (Daily Telegraph)
"One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards others still try to attain" (Sunday Times)
"Chandler is an original stylist, creator of a character as immortal as Sherlock Holmes" (Anthony Burgess)
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Good but not Chandler's best