Raymond Chandler: A Literary Reference by Robert Moss
The fifth volume in Carroll and Graf's successful series of literary references, which has included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Hardboiled Mystery Writers, and The Beats, provides an engagingly documented account of Raymond Chandler's life and work. Born in Chicago in 1888 but raised in Victorian England, Chandler was publishing poetry in London literary magazines when he set out at twenty-four for California and a business career. Two decades later he held the directorship of a lucrative oil conglomerate, until heavy drinking ended all that. Forced to return to professional writing for his livelihood, with artistic aspirations Chandler began writing detective stories in the hard-boiled style of Dashiell Hammett for popular pulp magazines. Then, in 1939, he published The Big Sleep, and the world met the slick, wisecracking sleuth Philip Marlowe in a decadent, glamorous Los Angeles rife with gangsters, crooked politicians, and dissolute movie queens. Amply illustrated with personal photographs and with reproductions of manuscript pages, letters, print ads, movie promotions, dust jackets, and paperback covers, this volume follows Chandler's career from his early pulp fiction to his classic detective novels.