Review updated on February 26, 2016
A group read with the following people:
Erin, Dan 2.0, Steve, Delee. Please let me know if I missed somebody.
A crippled millionaire with rapidly failing health hires Philip Marlowe to investigate seemingly simple blackmail case involving one of his daughters. The cynical PI charges only $25 a day plus expenses. For this money he got shot at several times, was knocked out by a blow in his head, met quite a few dead people and helped some of them meet their early demise directly and indirectly. I would say he got a lot of excitement for a very low price.
I really need to say a couple of words about Raymond Chandler. The guy took simple mindless entertainment called noir and made it an art form: simple as this. He was copied by practically every single writer who wrote noir since then. I am not talking about the books only - movies, theatrical plays, radio plays, TV mini-series involving a lonely PI have Philip Marlowe as original source of inspiration.
Chandler's quality of writing still stands well above that of people who came after him. Add to this a very fast complicated plot with numerous twists and you have a true classic of genre which while aged somewhat is still as entertaining to read, or reread as it was almost eighty years ago when it was first published. It kept me on the edge of the seat despite the fact that I read it several times before. I would give six stars to this book if I could, but I have to settle for five.