“Organized crime is just the dirty side of the sharp dollar.”
“What’s the clean side?”
“I never saw it. Let’s have a drink.”
If quotes like that excite you, and you tend to view the world through a haze of cigarette smoke and gimlet fog, then this book could very well be for you.
The Long Goodbye is Raymond Chandler’s sixth novel featuring the jaded private dick with a heart of…silver, Philip Marlowe. It’s not the best in the series, but it’s towards the top. For my money The Lady in the Lake and The Big Sleep in the lead spots. The order changes, depending on the day.
In this particular story, Marlowe finally makes a friend. He casually meets up for drinks regularly with a soft-spoken, prematurely white-haired chap who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. You know the type – a good heart and good intentions and actions that go the other way. Marlowe has a soft spot for his friend (his first one maybe?), and that leads him into all kinds of trouble. Wealthy heiresses, desperate writers, casino owners, crooked cops, gray reports – the works! The best thing about Marlowe, and sometimes the worst thing, is that he always says just what he thinks, whether it’s to powerful people or otherwise. (The worst thing is that some of the racial/ethinic characterizations haven’t aged the best.)
What else can I say about a series six books in? It’s just fun cruising around the seedy underbelly of LA. Marlowe is a master of atmospherics and jaded quips and femme fatales. It’s a fun, pulpy, transport into a another time and place.