My addiction to mysteries and thrillers has evolved (and deepened ... and darkened?) over the decades since, just a wee bit of a lad, I read some Hardy Boys novels--and (as I've noted here before) some Nancy Drews, titles I made certain my (male) friends of pubescence and adolescence did not know I was reading. Consequences for such behavior were dire (Dyer?) in 1958 or so. Even I--an especially dim lad in those days--knew that.
By the time I started reading Chandler, I had already developed into the sort of reader with a simple but time-consuming pattern of behavior: If I read one book by an author (and I like it), I must then read everything else the dude--or dude-ess--ever published. This is an imperative I still obey--witness my posts from last fall about reading my way through the canon of John O'Hara.
So, off I went on a Chandler adventure, reading all the Marlowe novels--Link: List of Marlowe novels. BTW: If you've seen the wonderful Robert Downey Jr./Val Kilmer/Michelle Monaghan film Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005)--which has at its core a series of old detective novels--you may remember that the filmmaker (Shane Black) divided the story, sort of, into chapters. And each of those chapters has a title. And each of those titles is the title of a Marlowe novel (e.g., The Lady in the Lake).
I loved the narration in the Chandler novels (P. I. Marlowe tells his own stories). Like this, from Farewell, My Lovely: It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out. Or this from The Long Goodbye: There was a sad fellow over on a bar stool talking to the bartender, who was polishing a glass and listening with that plastic smile people wear when they are trying not to scream.
Soon I was so obsessed with Chandler and Marlowe that I knew I had to do something: write a play about him and have my middle school students perform it!
And so I did ...
TO BE CONTINUED ...
|Sizzling C. Rampling,|
Farewell, My Lovely, 1975