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The High Window Paperback – July 12, 1988


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The High Window + The Lady in the Lake + Farewell, My Lovely
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394758269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394758268
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,638 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.

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


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 51 customer reviews
You will be guessing about this one until the very end.
Steffan Piper
Exquisitely plotted and written, THE HIGH WINDOW, like the rest of the Chandler library, is noir and the hard-boiled detective novel at its finest.
rkramer@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu
The High Window is a fast paced, intricately plotted story inhabited by an abundance of interesting and colorful characters.
Michael G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By sandra mckinnon shelley on April 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
The High Window
by Raymond Chandler
The "High
Window" begins one hot day in Pasadena, when "everything
that grew was perfectly still in the breathless air they get over
there on what they call a nice cool day." If we don't know we are
in a Philip Marlowe novel yet, we do as soon as we meet his new
client--a wealthy, obese widow named Mrs. Murdock. From the
overgrown, dimly-lit sun room where she holds court, she gives Marlowe
his latest p.i. assignment. He's to find a rare coin, the Brasher
Doubloon, that was stolen from her possession. He's also to find her
daughter-in-law, a former nightclub singer named Linda Conquest, who
disappeared at the same time as the coin. "A charming girl--and
tough as an oak board," Mrs. Murdock tells him, through sips of
her port.
Marlowe's search for the pair leads to a tale more dense
and tangled than the thick foliage of his client's sun porch. He
quickly finds himself enmeshed with a rich gambler and his
philandering, showgirl wife; a thug with a frozen eye; and a mortician
who delves into politics. Marlowe also has to contend with the police
and a man in a sand-colored coupé who keeps tailing him. Then there
are the corpses that keep piling up in his path. There's also his
client, who has her own share of tightly-bound secrets. A
near-invalid who spends her days lying on a reed chaise lounge,
Mrs. Murdock still holds an iron grip on her effeminate son and the
fragile woman who works as her secretary.
The plot is fast-paced
and engrossing, but the real power of the novel lies in the snappy
dialogue and beautifully conveyed atmosphere.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Hilgart on December 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Chandler wrote his first four novels in rapid succession, then went to Hollywood for four years before writing the fifth Philip Marlowe novel, "The Little Sister." These first four are "original recipe" Chandler -- the novels that defined high-brow hard-boiled.
"The High Window" (the third) is the anomaly of the first batch because it is the only novel prior to "The Little Sister" that was written as a novel; "The Big Sleep," "Farewell My Lovely," and "The Lady in the Lake" were all built using three to four of Chandler's earlier pulp short stories. Chandler called this practice "cannibalizing."
Chandler actually put aside the third cannibalized novel, "Lady in the Lake," to work on "The High Window." It's plot is only slightly less convoluted than the other three early novels, and it is slightly contrived, but what is interesting is the way in which it deliberately re-emphasizes concerns developed in its predecessor, "Farewell, My Lovely." Chandler was pressed to make sense of a detective with so much cultural capital and the ability to turn such a fantastic phrase, and in these two novels the emphasis is on developing Marlowe's class animosities and his determination to preserve the free-agency afforded him by his vocation. He comes across as a relative high-brow determined to take out his sense of failure on those who pretend to be his betters, and who employ him, but who are phonies. It is a novel about class and about Marlowe working to control the exploitation inherent in hiring himself out.
It may not be the best of the early four novels, but "The High Window" provides a clear and deliberate vision of Chandler's original conception of Marlowe.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Hayford Peirce on March 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Raymond Chandler wrote 4 noir novels in the late 30s and early 40s that defined the Southern California hardboiled thriller forever after. I first discovered them 41 years ago and instantly fell in love with them. The High Window, though, I thought at the time, and through several subsequent rereadings, was by far the least of the four. I hadn't reread it in at least 20 years now, but, based on some of the favorable Amazon comments, I read it again yesterday. My opinion of it, I'm sorry to say, hasn't changed in 41 years....
Why do I think it's only a mediocre book? Forty-one years ago I couldn't have articulated it. Now, however, it's obvious:
Because, basically, it's a boring story.
As an earlier reviewer in these columns told us, The High Window was the only one of the first 4 Chandler books that was plotted as an entirety and not cobbled together from earlier short stories that Chandler had written for the pulp magazines. This, however, instead of being a virtue, actually turns out to be the major fault in the book.
Philip Marlowe, the first-person narrator and hero, is as beguiling as ever but the story he tells -- basically the search for a missing coin of great value -- is dull and listless. Each individual character is nicely sketched, as only Chandler could do at the height of his powers, and the writing sparkles and pops. But -- and this sounds strange but is absolutely true -- the story itself could equally well have been written by Agatha Christie with Hercule Poirot as the main character. An investigation is mounted; the detective moves from one character to the next; a couple of bodies are discovered; the detective exchanges banter with the police; he talks with a few more characters; he wraps up the case and tells us who murdered whom -- probably.
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