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The Lady in the Lake (Otto Penzlers First Edition Library) Hardcover – May 1, 1998


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Hardcover, May 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Otto Penzlers First Edition Library
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Otto Penzler Books (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883402948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883402945
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,072,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Chandler is not only the best writer of hardboiled PI stories, he's one of the 20th century's top scribes, period. His full canon of novels and short stories is reprinted in trade paper featuring uniform covers in Black Lizard's signature style. A handsome set for a reasonable price.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Raymond Chandler is a master." --The New York Times

“[Chandler] wrote as if pain hurt and life mattered.” --The New Yorker

“Chandler seems to have created the culminating American hero: wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical and rebellious.” --Robert B. Parker, The New York Times Book Review

“Philip Marlowe remains the quintessential urban private eye.” --Los Angeles Times

“Nobody can write like Chandler on his home turf, not even Faulkner. . . . An original. . . . A great artist.” —The Boston Book Review

“Raymond Chandler was one of the finest prose writers of the twentieth century. . . . Age does not wither Chandler’s prose. . . . He wrote like an angel.” --Literary Review

“[T]he prose rises to heights of unselfconscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision.” --Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” —Ross Macdonald

“Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude.” --Erle Stanley Gardner

“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” --Paul Auster

“[Chandler]’s the perfect novelist for our times. He takes us into a different world, a world that’s like ours, but isn’t. ” --Carolyn See

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Chandler is the master and he keeps you turning pages until the very end.
Ryan Sepassi
The source material for this film was the Raymond Chandler novel of the same name, which like most of his books, is a nice gem.
mrliteral
It is so obvious that it is almost a tad insulting as a reader to have the plot device employed so early in the book.
Robert Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this absolute literary classic, Philip Marlowe has been asked to look into the disappearance of the straying wife of a local businessman. His search to find her leads him through dead bodies, corrupt police, and wicked women. The amazing thing is that the book doesn't preach, it just sees-- Marlowe witnesses the world with a kind of fatalistic and dispassionate affection-- the things people do to each other; the things people do to themselves. The kind of writing style of which most writers can only dream.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tony C on January 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
THE LADY IN THE LAKE is one of Raymond Chandler's weaker Philip Marlowe novels, if not the weakest. (I say "weakest" as opposed to "worst," because, to paraphrase the cliche, reading Chandler is a bit like sex: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.) But that's just it. It's not that this is a bad read by any stretch - it's head and shoulders above the best mysteries taking up space on the bestseller lists, and most of the mysteries ever published. But, because this is Chandler, it's held to a higher standard than disposable airline reads, and by that yardstick, it falls short.
The story of this (the first Marlowe novel written after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor), like all in the series, starts simply enough: Our Hero is hired by a wealthy businessman to find his missing wife. And like all Marlowe stories, the case soon becomes much more complicated, leading Marlowe on a trail of twists and turns through some of the darkest shadows of his world until, at last, all is revealed.
It is a fun trail to follow for the reader, if not always for Marlowe. Still, it doesn't match the intense intricacy of FAREWELL, MY LOVELY nor the lurid seductiveness of THE BIG SLEEP - both among the classics of 20th century literature. It even misses the layering of THE HIGH WINDOW, leaving a fun read without as much depth. Worse, the twists, while they might surprise or confuse readers fed on the whodunit simplicity of Agatha Christie, are, for devoted Chandlerites, more obvious. I guessed the titular lady's secret soon after she was found in the lake, and it was not too difficult to tie in several - although, I admit, not all - later twists.
Still, Chandler is Chandler. His dry, intoxicating prose is here, as is his mastery of characterization.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Donald Gallinger on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Lady in the Lake is one of Chandler's best. Philip Marlowe finds a body--but whose body is it? Laced with Chandler's wry commentary on everything from rich dames to down and out war veterans, this book is an absolute delight from the first page to the last. Classic Chandler. Sharp, funny, full of surprising twists, and always the most original prose around. Highest recommendation for an American "noir" novel.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By thecastlebookroom on November 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Another noir classic by the master, in this episode detective Philip Marlowe finds crime as deadly in a lakeside resort as it is on the mean streets of the city of angels, and the body count mounts as the suspense builds and the plot twists. The character development is impeccable, the dialogue lively and bright and suitably sarcastic, and the plotting as convoluted as any Chandler classic would be likely to be.
The mountaintop setting for much of the story lends itself to some poetic prose from the sensitive tough-guy with an eye for beauty and an ear for simile. The narrative flows easily as Marlowe unwinds the mystery to it's inevitable conclusion, observing, lamenting, and condemning the corruption and injustice of the American social structure while withholding judgement from even the most vicious and violent, in his typically refreshing blend of cynicism and naivete.
The writing is spare and straightforward, but it's an illusion, an act of synergy, for the totality of effect is magnified beyond the sum total of the parts, proving that in literature as in art, less is more.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Miles on August 6, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Raymond Chandler has always been known for his eloquent prose, and the masterful way he creates his settings, but many hard-core mystery fans have not loved the fact that he can sometimes sacrifice the disciplined, mathematical puzzle for creating an experience. Not so in "The Lady in the Lake", which offers a vivid portrayal of Marlowe, gritty depiction of 1940's southern California, and a riveting mystery that buttons up neatly at the climax. This book is a fabulous guide to another reality which will provide hours of entertainment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on November 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Chandler is notorious for beautiful prose and muddled plots, but most of the blame can be attributed to his first novel from 1939: The Big Sleep. Not every Chandler plot is confusing. Here we have Chandler at his prime with his fourth novel from 1943 and it has both a nice plot and all the famous prose. If you read some other comments about the plot COVER YOUR EYES!!! Part of the fun of the present book is the good plot. The less you know the better, until you finish, and I will not spill the beans on the beautiful plot.

If you are new to Chandler, start with this novel or his second novel Farewell, My Lovely or perhaps the collection of four short stories from the 1930s: Trouble Is My Business. I bought all seven novels and two books of short stories - The Simple Art of Murder is his other collection of short stories - and consider the nine books to be mini-treasures. Of course, his first novel The Big Sleep is his most famous novel, made famous by the Warner's movie starring Bogart and Bacall, but the plot leaves one's head spinning.

When Chandler was starting out as a writer, he had little money and was forced to live in very cheap housing in Santa Monica. There he saw the rampant police and city corruption in action where the powerful and the wealthy controlled the city. This was at odds with the citizen's perception that the city was law abiding, proper, and conservative. He uses that experience here as a partial theme of the novel, but he calls the town his fictional name of Bay City instead of Santa Monica. It is an extension of his earlier short story writing and his second novel Farewell, My Lovely.
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