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The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1)
The Big Sleep - Philip Marlowe, Bk 1
Author: Raymond Chandler
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.
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ISBN-13: 9780394758282
ISBN-10: 0394758285
Publication Date: 7/12/1988
Pages: 231
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 127 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

VeganFreak avatar reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 6
Good vintage/ classic detective novel. I haven't read any of Chandler's books before, so I started with this one, his first. I never read the classic detective novels because I knew that they took place in the forties and I thought that they would be really dated and old fashioned. Yet again, I was wrong. I don't know why I thought that it would be more innocent than it was. People are people and they murdered and gambled and drank and slept around just as well, if not better, than we do now. If you are a fan of mystery and detective novels you should give this a try.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 3
This is a classic detective novel. What most stands out to me is the voice. It makes you feel like you're in an old movie. Fun to read.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
good pulp...much better than the movie, especially the crappy 70's version.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
"His thin, claw-like hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock." Published in 1939, when Raymond Chandler was 50, this is the first of the Philip Marlowe novels. Its bursts of sex, violence, and explosively direct prose changed detective fiction forever. "She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong-looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle. She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full."
Read All 22 Book Reviews of "The Big Sleep Philip Marlowe Bk 1"

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perryfran avatar reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 1193 more book reviews
For some reason I have put off reading the Philip Marlowe crime novels of Raymond Chandler. I did read one of his later novels, THE LITTLE SISTER, back in the 1970's but I don't really remember much about it. I've read a lot of other hard-case noir detective novels including most of Dashiell Hammett as well as Mickey Spillane, John MacDonald, etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed THE BIG SLEEP and I will be looking forward to reading more Chandler. I do remember seeing the Humphrey Bogart movie version of this many years ago and I will also be looking out for it to see how it compares to the book.

This is the first in Chandler's series of Philip Marlowe novels and was published in 1939. Marlowe is hired by a wealthy retired General Sternwood to look into a case of blackmail. Sternwood is the father of two somewhat wild daughters, Vivian and Carmen, and the youngest, Carmen seems to owe a rather large gambling debt. Vivian is married to an ex-bootlegger who has apparently run off with a mobster's wife. Carmen is also prone to drugs and men and is easily manipulated. Although Marlowe is hired to address the blackmailing related to gambling, Sternwood also hints that he would like to find Vivian's missing husband. What appears to be a rather straightforward case turns into a real morass for Marlowe taking him through the bleak worlds of illicit pornography, drugs, and other forms of racketeering in the Los Angeles of the late 1930's. Several murders occur along the way with Marlowe in the thick of things but everything seems to tie back to the Sternwoods and especially the two daughters.

Chandler really has a flair for descriptive language and he also is among the first of the hard-boiled noir writers where the detective follows random leads rather than trying to deduce conclusions based on clues and intellect which was a mainstay of detective novels since the time of Sherlock Holmes. Sorry I took so long to read this great crime classic and I will be looking forward to more by Chandler.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 63 more book reviews
This is one of the grand daddys of the murder mystery. raymond Chandler only did about six of them. This the tough detective against the bad guys and at least one trecherous woman. It's great reading. The stylized writing is probably a little too simple for some readers, but it emerged in the 30's...and carried us up to Papa Hemingway and Mickey Spillane. Oh, by the way, it's a good story.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 18 more book reviews
Cool noire detective fiction from one of the masters! A great vacation read.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 48 more book reviews
I read this with the expectation that I would be intrigued. I had heard a great many good things about this. Honestly, for a noir novel this one felt pretty flat. It wasn't poorly written by any means. It just didn't have the "something" it needed to bring it to life. Perhaps it was the characters. I didn't find myself excited to turn the page. I just felt the need to finish it to say that I'd read it. I've read worse novels though. Worth reading at least once to say you've read it if you haven't yet. Other than that, meh.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 19 more book reviews
Excellent book. If you enjoy detective stories you will love it.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 25 more book reviews
No one writes noir better than Chandler and this book is perhaps his finest effort. As an LA resident, its also interesting to see how much has changed, but also how much remains the same.
jjares avatar reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 3308 more book reviews
Every once-in-a-while, I just have to read Raymond Chandler again. He's the king of the hard-boiled detective novel and I love his fabulous turn of a phrase. To me, he captures 'film noir' in print. The story is less important (to me) than the language he uses to convey thoughts and ideas. I really don't know how to phrase it but I like to feel Raymond Chandler's language pour over me. His phrasing is so sharp and pithy.

This novel is about the 1940s Los Angeles and in it, Raymond Chandler is a descriptive genius. The dialogue is forcefully expressive and Marlowe oozes with sarcasm. This book is a study of 1940s morality in Los Angeles. Television has made America more homogeneous in many ways. But in the years highlighted in this book, morals and behaviors were certainly different in the city vs. the small towns of America. This story captures a long-gone era, but we are able to peek in because of Chandler's clear lens. A great read.
reviewed The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, Bk 1) on + 413 more book reviews
This is an old time mystery style with a detective who is smart, tough and gives an honest days work for his pay. In this story he is hired to find out who is blackmailing one of two daughters and his investigation opens up a whole can of worms.

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