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Raymond Chandler: Collected Stories (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – October 15, 2002


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Raymond Chandler: Collected Stories (Everyman's Library) + The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback (Everyman's Library) + The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window (Everyman's Library)
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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library (Cloth)
  • Hardcover: 1336 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library; X-Library edition (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375415009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375415005
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

It was a big year for Chandler: not only did Knopf release his full canon in this hardcover trio, which includes some long-out-of-print stories, but Vintage also released a new set of paperbacks (LJ 7/02) of all his books. (LJ 9/15/02)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "The front of her dress was a sudden welter of blood. Her eyes opened and shut, opened and stayed open." That sentence, from Raymond Chandler's 1935 story "Spanish Blood," says volumes about the history of mystery fiction. Death was mostly an offstage plot device in the works of Agatha Christie and other English authors during the so-called Golden Age of the detective story; American pulp writers made guns and blood their stock-in-trade, but most of them knew little about style, and their work didn't circulate much beyond bus stations and drugstores. Then Chandler, getting his start in those same pulps, began using phrases such as "sudden welter of blood," and it was only a matter of time before the literary world took notice. This landmark collection, gargantuan in both size and significance, brings together for the first time all of Chandler's short fiction, the raw material from which he later fashioned all his celebrated novels, from The Big Sleep through The Long Goodbye. Part of the fascination in reading these seminal tales is to encounter bits and pieces of the novels turning up in all sorts of places: the fabled opening scene of The Big Sleep, Marlowe with General Sternwood in the greenhouse, takes place in one story, while the later scene involving Sternwood's thumb-sucking daughter, Carmen, and her adventures with a pornographer becomes the centerpiece in an entirely different story. To read these 25 stories, 22 of which were originally published in the 1930s, consecutively is to watch Chandler's craft develop: the move from third to first person; the fascination with atmosphere and mood; the outrageous similes; the liberating focus on his detective's thoughts and feelings; and, of course, the relish with which he describes violence and death, utterly realistic yet flamboyantly stylized. And, yet, one can also see Chandler chomping at the bit of the short form, the plot demands of the mystery formula keeping him from his real interests: character and place. Only Chandler fanatics will want to read every word of this encyclopedic volume, but anyone with any interest in the history of hard-boiled fiction should sample its groundbreaking wares. A major publishing event. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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There is a shocking surprise ending to this story.
Acute Observer
From the bibliography most of these stories were published between 1933 and 1939, when Chandler began turning these short stories into novels.
BJ Fraser
I very highly recommend this, his collected stories.
Colette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Oerman on November 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was dubious. Not of the quality of Chandler's writings, but of the veracity of this book's claim to collect ALL of his short fiction. But it does. From Blackmailers Don't Shoot to The Pencil, with everything in between, this has them all. This also includes three that are available nowhere else: Professor Bingo's Snuff, The Bronze Door and English Summer. These last three really do not really qualify as pulpy mysteries (or even as typical Chandler, although his imprint in them is still distinct), but I had been seeking them for a while and bought the book for them alone anyway. And because, well, Chandler could write a grocery list and I'd buy it to read. He's that good.
For those who already know Chandler, that will not come as any surprise. He took up the torch which Hammett lit, toward making detective fiction respectable literature. And no one outside of Hemingway has been more influential or distinctive, in any style, anywhere, ever. And no one has ever been more entertaining. Chandler wrote in an extremely visceral, visual, atmospheric way, and made the language sit up, salute and perform pirouettes. His cynical California Gothic prose defined postwar America and combined intelligentsia with slang and squalor with romanticism into a new form that has not been exceeded. I could ramble on indefinitely, but I hope this paragraph has been some small yet clear indication of the fact that I happen to like Raymond Chandler's writing.
The three previously unpublished stories were treats, to see Chandler working in ways I was unaccustomed to. One was even subtitled 'A Gothic Romance'; that made me a little nervous, but is only a romance in the sense that The Big Sleep is a romance.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James Atkins on June 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, there are a lot of great stories in this book, but for me the real interest is seeing Chandler develop the traits and try out the plotlines that will be fully fleshed out with the definitive Philip Marlowe. I was introduced to Chandler by a good friend (thanks, Darlene) about 25 years ago, and I still read his novels at least once a year. I would read The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely first to get a sense of who Marlowe is and then backtrack into these stories to find out where Marlowe comes from. Marlowe has been my favorite literary character for a very long time. Down these mean pages, a man must go. An excellent collection and an excellent value.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kristopher Haines on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the one to buy, it has virtually everything. It almost makes me mad that it is finally here because of all I had to go through to find the missing pieces not offered in the scandalously misleading Library of America collection. "Raymond Chandler Speaking" has the one missing story and it is easily obtainable, although otherwise useless. Buy the entire set from the new Everyman's Library, it is comparable in price to the LOA set and this set delivers what it promises.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Grant on March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Right off the bat, let me make clear that this is a beautifully bound and printed collection, that it's a bargain at Amazon's discounted price, and that these stories do exhibit Chandler's famously skillful writing style. In a couple of the stories in this collection, Chandler seems to be trying to write a Twilight Zone script, and in another he seems to be imitating P.G. Wodehouse, but in all of the rest he's true to form.

There is an important sense, however, in which this collection will be a mixed blessing to you if you've read and appreciated Chandler's novels. In a remarkable number of instances, the stories mix-and-match the plot lines from the novels. To be chronologically-correct, I should say that it's the other way around, I guess. In any case, it is disorienting to read Episodes X, Y, and Z from Novels A, B, and C all occurring in the same story. It's like having Nicholas Nickleby and David Copperfield team up to get Oliver Twist out of a jam. If you like to remember the things you read, you should be aware that the stories are likely to confuse your memories of the novels.

What's remarkable about Chandler is how even the same episode transplanted into a different story comes across interesting and fresh the second time around.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BJ Fraser VINE VOICE on April 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's always problematic in reviewing a book of short stories because it would take a long time to describe each story. That's especially true of this book, which collects all of Raymond Chandler's short stories and comes out to a whopping 1,300 pages. So I'm just going to deal with general issues and some highlights.

From the bibliography most of these stories were published between 1933 and 1939, when Chandler began turning these short stories into novels. The last three or so were published near or after his death in 1959.

As you'd expect, most of these are detective stories. They feature a variety of lead characters, who are generally all the same. There's the familiar Philip Marlowe from Chandler's novels, but also Nick Carmady, John Dalmas, John Evans, and others. By and large they are all private investigators, a bit world-weary and cynical, a bit down on their luck, but who maintain their own moral code. They want to finish the jobs they start and do it right, though they have no compunction about hiding evidence from the law if they feel it necessary. There are a couple of notable exceptions to this: "Pearls Are a Nuisance" features a learned playboy as the investigator and "The Bronze Door" features an old henpecked British man. The latter is actually more of a supernatural horror story than a detective story, one that could have made for a good "Twilight Zone" episode years later. "Professor Bingo's Snuff" is another in the supernatural vein, involving snuff that turns the user invisible. And "English Summer: A Gothic Romance" sounds very un-Chandler-like, but does get the mandatory murder in there.
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