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A woman from a small Kansas town hires Philip Marlowe to find her missing brother What Marlowe finds is himself ensnared in a web of drugs, blackmail, and murderAs I ve said many times, noir fiction and I go together like a bottle of cheap vodka and nightmares about being chased by coyotes The Little Sister by the esteemed Raymond Chandler is no exception.It may be because it s been a few months since I ve read one of Raymond Chandler s oddly poetic noir masterpieces but I liked The Little Sister almost as much as Farewell, My Lovely but not as much as The Big Sleep Chandler s simile ridden prose pushes Marlowe from one sordid event to the next, making the bloody trip as pleasurable as a walk on the beach.As is usual for a Chandler book, the plot meanders all over the place Marlowe takes a kicking but keeps pushing his way forward, solving the case through a combination of luck, good detective work, and top notch dialog.The case looked simple when it was just Ormafay looking for Orrin Throw in the blackmail angle with Mavis Weld, some thug named Steelgrave, and people getting murdered with ice picks to the neck every other chapter and I had no idea where things were going for a good portion of the book.The trip to the end was confusing but quite pleasurable due to Chandler s sublime prose I lost track of all the one liners I wanted to remember His nose had been broken and set but hadn t ever been a collector s item is the first one that springs to mind.I know I saw it with every Raymond Chandler book I review but this is a must read for noir and detective fiction fans It s an easy four stars. The book begins with an exciting chase scene Philip Marlowe tries to catch a fly Actually, I am kidding The PI, not having any case to work on is so bored that he starts hunting aforementioned fly When a girl shows up on his door he takes her case for a measly sum of 20 The girl came from Nowhere, Kansas the actual name of the place is Manhattan and I do not mean NYC location and she wants to locate her brother who supposedly lives somewhere in LA The routine investigation leads Marlowe to two dead bodies in quick succession after which evendead bodies, mafia thugs, corrupted policemen, blackmailers, movie stars, high profile lawyers, and other people dead or alive try to stop Marlowe from uncovering something which is better left buried for a lot of parties.I was always wondering why Marlowe who lives and works in Hollywood never stumbled upon its main produced goods movies and people involved in production movie stars and producers bad pun is not intended This time he finally gets on the inside of Kingdom of the Fake Glamor during the investigation.I always said that the later books in the series are much weaker than the first ones This is the first novel where the weakness began to develop Marlowe becamecynical even by his own standards, the plot is not as tight and fast moving as before and there were several boring pages, but they were few and between For this reason I lowered my standard 5 star rating for Philip Marlowe novel by half of the star, but the book firmly deserves the resulting rating 4.5.This review is a copy paste of my BookLikes one She was a small, neat, rather prissy looking girl with primly smooth brown hair and rimless glasses She had no make up, no lipstick and no jewelry The rimless glasses gave her that librarian s look But, Marlowe, you surely must know what she would look like without the glasses, wearing her hair loose and a little make up and jewelry Beware A femme fatale in hiding This has always remained my very favorite Raymond Chandler novel And as far as The Little Sister goes, there isthan just one femme fatale And maybe, according to Raymond Chandler, Hollywood itself is the ultimate femme fatale Having his face rubbed in Hollywood culture or anti culture , Philip Marlowe turns existential I urge you to read for yourself to see if the concluding chapter amounts to a happy ending Hint the novel does not have a Hollywood ending. Written in the late 40s when RC was sick of Hollywood and depressed about his wife s health she was 17 years older ,RC was fretful and feelinginsolent than usual So he used Movieland as his setting The titular sister, from the midwest, lands in SoCal looking for her missing brother as, we later learn, they both want to blackmail their Almost Famous Sis who s in Pix From real life RC borrows a scandal involving mobster Bugsy Siegel who was allowed out of prison for a few days to visit his dentistsee, it s LA where anything goes Forget reel life.As Capote said there are typists and there are writers RC was most gloriously A Writer California the most of everything and the best of nothing I smelled Los Angeles before I got to it It smelled stale and old like a living room that had been closed too long More wind blown hair and sunglasses and attitudes and pseudo refined voices and water front morals Our man Marlowe goes to the movies and sees The Sister in a featured role If she had been ten times better half her scenes would have been yanked out to protect the star RC claims this is what happened to featured Martha Vickers to protect Bacall in The Big Sleep Oh, yes, show biz If these people didn t live intense and disordered lives, they wouldn t be able to catch emotions in flight and imprint them on a few feet of celluloid Reviewing for The Tatler, 1949, Elizabeth Bowen wrote that no consideration of modern American literature ought to exclude Raymond Chandler. [ DOWNLOAD KINDLE ] ♎ The Little Sister ♶ Chandler S Th Novel Has Philip Marlowe Going To Hollywood As He Explores The Underworld Of Glitter Capital, Trying To Find A Sweet Young Thing S Missing BrotherA Movie Starlet With A Gangster Boyfriend And A Pair Of Siblings With A Shared Secret Lure Marlowe Into The Less Than Glamorous And Than A Little Dangerous World Of Hollywood Fame Chandler S First Foray Into The Industry That Dominates The Company Town That Is Los Angeles
Mostly a masterpiece 5 stars for the first 2 3 of the book, his best ever work, which then sadly rushes into the overly complex morass of a resolution Chandler s final denouement of the villains and their actions seems rushed in places, and unclear in others You will eventually follow and understand, but it s a lot of work.Marlowe expresses this towards the end Sometimes when I m low I try to reason it out But it gets too complicated The whole damn case was that way There was never a point where I could do the natural obvious thing without stopping to rack my head dizzy with figuring how it would affect somebody I owed something to. As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher s blurb summary of the book Thank you.What s most amazing about the prose in this book is how balanced it is, how smooth the pacing, how it flows right up to the edge of being surreal but Marlowe s intelligence keeps it real and immediate Fabulous And, perhaps the most surprising thing about the language here is how modern it is, so many phrases and expressions have penetrated our daily usage, even now Chandler s prose just flows from the page and into our minds It s natural rhythm and pacing are extraordinary.The women femme fatales in the book are strong characters, each an individual persona, each driven by familiar needs and pasts, each desperately trying to manipulate Marlowe to their own perceived goals.The first 2 3 of the book presents clues and some red herrings, some misdirections, but bit by bit the clues fit together, drawing you into Marlowe s world, building a picture of crimes in your mind Chandler must have gotten tired of the story at some point, because the last 1 3 is extraordinarily complex and this leads to the story feeling rushed and quite confusing It s all there, but just kind of thrown at you at the end Too bad You don t think I m doing this for any twenty bucks, do you She gave me a level, suddenly cool stare Then why Then when I didn t answer she added, Because spring is in the air I still didn t answer She blushed a little Then she giggled I didn t have the heart to tell her I was just plain bored with doing nothing Perhaps it was the spring too And something in her eyes that was much older than Manhattan, Kansas. She relaxed and let her head go back and her lips open a little I suppose you do this to all the clients, she said softly Her hands now had dropped to her sides The bag whacked against my leg She leaned her weight on my arm If she wanted me to let go of her, she had her signals mixed I just didn t want you to lose your balance, I said I knew you were the thoughtful type She relaxed stillHer head went back now Her upper lids drooped, fluttered a bit and her lips came open a little farther On them appeared the faint provocative smile that nobody ever has to teach them. 32% Wow Chapter 13 is incredibly good The prose is wonderful, beautifully descriptive, and we see Marlowe s dissatisfaction with himself and with Los Angeles clearly This is, I think, the single best chapter in all of Chandler Wonderful Tired men in dusty coups and sedans winced and tightened their grip on the wheel and ploughed on north and west towards home and dinner, an evening with the sports page, the blatting of the radio, the whining of their spoiled children and the gabble of their silly wives I drove on past the gaudy neons and the false fronts behind them, the sleazy hamburger joints that look like palaces under the colors, the circular drive ins as gay as circuses with the chipper hard eyed carhops, the brilliant counters, and the sweaty greasy kitchens that would have poisoned a toad Great double trucks rumbled down over Sepulveda from Wilmington and San Pedro and crossed towards the Ridge Route, starting up in low low from the traffic lights with a growl of lions in the zoo. sleazy adj 1640s, downy, fuzzy, later flimsy, unsubstantial 1660s , of unknown origin one theory is that it is a corruption of Silesia, the German region, where thin linen or cotton fabric was made for export Silesia in reference to cloth is attested in English from 1670s and sleazy as an abbreviated form is attested from 1670 , but OED is against this Sense of sordid is from 1941 Related Sleazily sleaziness.In this book, we see Marlowe attracted the femme fatales, and helplessly smitten by one He realises this, but can t seem to help himself, doesn t want to help himself, although he knows a romance could never work Still he invests his heart Very poignant, very sadThey are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security Chandler was 64 then, and his wife was 16 years older I also understand that Chandler s wife was quite ill during his writing of this book, and you can feel his fatigue with life in L.A clearly, his rants against the tinsel, throwaway culture that L.A had become, the poison of money and Hollywood, and his nostalgia for an older version of L.A., somehow cleaner andhopeful in his mind The studio cop at the semicircular glassed in desk put down his telephone and scribbled on a pad He tore off the sheet and pushed in through the narrow slit Thanks Is this bullet proof glass Sure Why I just wondered, I said I never heard of anybody shooting his way into the picture business Behind me somebody snickered I turned to look at a girl in slacks with a red carnation behind her ear She was grinning Oh brother, if a gun was all it tookNotes 20.0% Chandler is smokin here He hard boils it, then brings out the blow torch Awesome 31.0% I would have loved to see Bogart in a movie of this Wow 32.0% Wow Chapter 13 is incredibly good The very best chapter in all of Chandler Wonderful 47.0% keeps getting better and better Spectacular prose, complex plot, and deliciously entertaining characters.. , 1949 , , , Ross McDonald 1962 , , 1992 ,, , , ,, , , ,, , 40, , , ,F.B.I.,, , , , , ,, , , , ,4,4 5 8,8 10. This novel used similes that were long and round and thin, like a rattailed file that has been ground smooth.This novel is a sort of sad whisper, like a mortitian asking for a down payment.This novel had a low lingering voice with a sort of moist caress in it like a damp bath towl.This novel felt like a nice leg.This novel was brought up straight, like the wicked foreman of the Lazy Q.This novel sounded like somebody putting aways saucepans.This novel flashed like lightening.This novel burned like dry ice.This novel bounced me downstairs like a basketball.This novel made my brain feel like a bucket of wet sand.This novel spoke to me like a six hundred dollar funeral.This novel made a sort of high keening noise, like a couple of pansies fighting for a piece of silk.This novel grew on me like scum on a water tank.This novel burned like a hot iron.This novel gave me the creeps Like petting snakes.This novel felt like four years on a road gang.This novel had a jaw like a park bench.This novel had eyes cloudy and grey like freezing water.This novel was sad, like a fallen cake.This novel s similies poured like water through the floodgagtes of a dam.This novel fell on silence like a tired head on a swansdown pillow.This novel made me laugh like a child trying to be supercilious at a playroom tea party. This one is very hard to rate So let s call it 4.5 stars There are flaws The plot really is too complex, as Marlowe himself admits And at times, especially in the first half, there is an even deeper problem Marlowe is always has been and always will be see Chandler s letter to D.J Ibberson, dated April 19, 1951 38, but the author himself at the time of writing was already 61 and, quite obviously, none too happy about it That discrepancy of voice is sometimes too apparent On the other hand, Little Sister contains some of the best and richest writing in Chandler s corpus Some remarkable characters in this book, Toad, Steelgrave But one of the principal female characters I won t pull a spoiler and tell you which one, except to say that Marlow himself points unequivocally to the falsity near the end is less successful in terms of being drawn in a totally convincing way In other words, the author s intervention shows too often through the cracks.It is as if his art has reached a state of perfection, even as his personality and character have begun to crumble And that gives to the whole a slightly false note.This is a common problem, by the way, when one reaches, and then suddenly passes middle age.Still, a wholly excellent book, despite its flaws. Wonderful what Hollywood will do to a nobody It will make a radiant glamour queen out of a drab little wench who ought to be ironing a truck driver s shirts, a he man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesan, married six times to six millionaires and so blas and decadent at the end of it that her idea of a thrill is to seduce a furniture mover in a sweaty undershirt A woman from small town Kansas travels to California and hires Marlowe to track down her missing brother In his quest to locate the man in question, Chandler will take Marlowe into the world of Hollywood and the shady characters that occupy it.In The Little Sister, Chandler packs about ten pounds of plot into a two pound sack As many of his fans have said, trying to follow a Marlowe novel is about as simple as reading a road map upside down and backwards Ice picks, gunshots and fist on face violence make up the fifth installment of Chandler s signature series and while the plot twists hit harder than a flurry of punches to the solar plexus, it s Chandler s writing that once again blew me away.Not known for having a positive worldview, Chandler is increasingly bitter this time around Briefly working as a screenwriter in Tinseltown, certain experiences soured him on the whole industry Through Marlowe, he muses on the whole damn state of California, hitting it with stinging criticismCalifornia, the department store state The most of everything and the best of nothing I ate dinner at a place near Thousand Oaks Bad but quick Feed em and throw em out Lots of business We can t bother with you sitting over your second cup of coffee, mister You re using money space See those people over there behind the rope They want to eat Anyway they think they have to God knows why they want to eat here The could do better home out of a can They are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security Despite his general dislike for most of the people he meets, Marlowe spends the entire novel manipulating evidence and tipping the scales in favor of others which makes the ending all thatshocking If you saw it coming, I ll bake you a dozen cookies.I m sad to see that I m reaching the end of my Marlowe marathon TwoChandler written novels remain with arguably the best of the best on the horizon The Little Sister may not be sitting at the top but it s certainly a worthy piece of Marlowe legacy.