The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

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When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

"Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invest[s] the sun-blinded streets of Los Angelos with a romantic presence."
--Ross Macdonald

About Raymond Chandler

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Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888 - 1959) was the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction. Although he was born in Chicago, Chandler spent most of his boyhood and youth in England where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a freelance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Spectator. During World War I, Chandler served in France with the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, transferring later to the Royal Flying Corps (R. A. F.). In 1919 he returned to the United States, settling in California, where he eventually became director of a number of independent oil companies. The Depression put an end to his career, and in 1933, at the age of forty-five, he turned to writing fiction, publishing his first stories in Black Mask. Chandler's detective stories often starred the brash but honorable Philip Marlowe (introduced in 1939 in his first novel, The Big Sleep) and were noted for their literate presentation and dead-on critical eye. Never a prolific writer, Chandler published only one collection of stories and seven novels in his lifetime. Some of Chandler's novels, like The Big Sleep, were made into classic movies which helped define the film noir style. In the last year of his life he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died in La Jolla, California on March 26, 1959.
Published June 11, 2002 by Vintage. 234 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Horror, Religion & Spirituality, Crime, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Big Sleep

Kirkus Reviews

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A good one in the tough school, in which private detective Marlowe is hired to investigate a blackmailing and finds himself bucking a well-run gang, several murders, and the D A's office.

Mar 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep

The Guardian

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First released in 1946 and now being revived for selected screenings around the country and an extended run at the National Film Theatre, The Big Sleep is a film of infinite interest.

Jan 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep

The Guardian

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There's lots to admire about The Big Sleep (Radio 4, Saturday), the first adaptation in a Classic Chandler season dramatising all Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels.

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep


Cinematic adaptations of popular novels are all the rage in Hollywood, and it's a trend that goes back several decades, back to a time when World War II was only just coming to an end, and America was entering a decade of bulging prosperity and social upheaval -- a decade which gave us Raymond Ch...

May 25 2012 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep


The Big Sleep reads as if written by a writer who had long honed his craft, and is best known for introducing one of the most famous of the hard-boiled crime detectives.

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Chamber Four

If you like mysteries and crime fiction at all–even if all you’ve read is Steig Larsson–and you haven’t already read The Big Sleep, go for it Similar Reads: The Thin Man (Hammett), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Larsson).

Jan 23 2012 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep

Spirituality & Practice

Two of the most confused and confusing characters are the General's daughters: Charlotte who has been abandoned by her husband (everyone wants to know where he his) and Camilla, a slightly batty girl.

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Book Geeks

The greens, reds, and golds of California, the silks and patterns of the women’s dresses, and the stark enviroment that Marlowe surrounds himself with are richer than the black and white image that has so firmly been attached to the character.

Mar 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep

'Your Favorite Book Sucks' is an ongoing column, written by different people, that takes a classic or popular book and argues why it isn't really all that great.

Aug 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Big Sleep

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Michael Manley 20 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5