Having had a number of months away from reading anything by Chandler, and having read other pulp detective authors in the meantime, like Bellem, Daly, Davis and Browne, this novel really struck me a blow to the side of the head. This isn’t typical Chandler. All of the Chandler style is there, actually more so than usual, so much so that I was continually rereading passages just to absorb his eloquent prose style, 180 degrees opposite of the Bellem story I was reading the day prior.
Chandler, or Marlowe, really seems to be going through some sort of mid-life crisis here, so much so that is almost subverts the plot. Years of living in the same, constant, kind of world, has it taken its toll? Marlowe is investigating the murder of a friend(so it seems, yet all cursory evidence points to a suicide), and gets the usually round of dirty dealings by folks not wanting him to dig deeper. Coming away from this book, I have this odd feeling of depression. Is it just me or is this what Chandler was trying to potray, the futility and stuck-in-a-rut feeling that Marlowe, a man outside of his own world, seems to be living?
For me there is little point discussing the novel itself, it is easily acquired, and has been read by most serious detective readers already, so enjoy this one as something just a little unusual.