The Father Of Noir And His Progeny

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The Father Of Noir And His Progeny: A Look At Raymond Chandler And Philip Marlow Essay, Research Paper Raymond Chandler, along with Dashiell Hammett, invented what is now known as modern detective literature. Chandler excelled in the art, creating “wise-cracking” cynical “private *censored*s,” such as Philip Marlowe. Marlowe and Sam Spade are what shall forever be the standard Private eye with razor sharp wit, keen intellect, and the blatant disregard for authority. Philip Marlowe is the smooth talking yet sentimental private eye. Marlowe’s sentimental side is what turned him into a real person, and not a “colorless narrator” as Sam Spade was often criticized as being by numerous critics. (Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler, 25-26) Raymond Chandler, was born

in Chicago, Illinois on July 23, 1888, but spend his boyhood and young adulthood in England, where he attended Dulwich college. Later on Chandler worked as a free-lance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Speculator. During WWI, he fought in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. In 1919, he returned to the United States and settled in California. Soon after, he became a prestigious oil-company director, but due to the depression and his drinking problem he soon lost his job. Not until he was 45 did Chandler start to write fiction. This is somewhat odd because he is often claimed as being the “father” of the hard-boiled genre. Chandler published his first stories in the pulp magazine, The Black Mask.

Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. Chandler published one collection of stories, and only seven novels in his lifetime. In the remaining year, of his life he was elected President of the Mystery Writers of America. He died in La Jolla, California, on March 26, 1959; he was 70. (Marling, 13) The High Window (1942), Chandler’s third, was a complicated book. Plot twists that not even the most prestigious and insightful critic could guess. The book blurb reads Marlowe’s case as delving into the California underworld in search of a rare and extremely valuable coin, the Brasher Doubloon. This is just a small portion of the novel. The book starts out with Marlowe visiting a Mrs. Murdock, s a bitter woman who secludes herself in her musty and dank house

all day while she drinks Port as medicine to mitigate her asthma. She puts Marlowe on the case of the Brasher Doubloon, she thinks that it has been stolen by her daughter-in-law, Linda Conquest, who had recently run-off. Murdock hopes that Marlowe finds the coin, so she can get an uncontested divorce for her son, Leslie. As Marlowe passes through the house of Murdock he meets a beautiful, young and timid blonde, Merle Davis, Mrs. Murdock’s secretary. Davis is the only outsider of the family, but she regards Mrs. Murdock as a mother, bitter as she is. Not only is Miss Davis timid, but Marlowe also discovers that, when he touched her casually, she jumped. It is then apparent to him that she suffers from a sexual neurosis; she can’t stand men. With the help of Miss Davis,

Marlowe is able to get find the names of Linda Conquest’s friends, Lois Magic, and Louis Vannier. Marlowe also finds that Leslie owes a man named Morny a considerable sum of money for his gambling losses. Morny also happens to be Lois Magic’s husband. This provokes Marlowe into thinking that Linda stole the Doubloon to pay off the gambling debt. Marlowe decides to pay a visit to the Morny estate. At the estate, Marlowe meets Vannier who is having an affair with Lois Magic. (Sound like a Soap Opera?) Upon leaving the estate Marlowe has more questions than before and even fewer answers. Marlowe’s next confrontation with a total stranger is with George Anson Phillips, who has been tailing him since the beginning of the novel. Anson, being an amateur private gumshoe, gives