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The Lady in the Lake Paperback – Unabridged, August 12, 1988


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

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394758250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394758251
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,691 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

I think Raymond Chandler is the best writer that I've read in this genre.
MJ.
One of the great classic Chandler novels with beautiful prose, great observations and one of the more interesting and complex plots.
Bradley
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 43 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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21 of 24 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 17 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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27 of 33 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David C. Roller on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
A 2007 summer reading list mini review.

I recently read a book celebrating the 100th birthday of Raymond Chandler. In the book, many current detective writers tell Phillip Marlowe stories and then explain the effect that Marlowe and Chandler had on their careers. The praise was glowing, and I picked up Lady in the Lake, to see if it was warranted. After the first chapter, I had an inkling the praise was justified. After the second, I knew.

The story of a Marlowe trailing an executives missing wife is excellent, but it is Chandler's use of language in dialogue that is amazing. The following exchange happens late in the book when a desk clerk uses the word whom and the crusty cop with Chandler is taken aback:

Degarmo spun on his heel and looked at me wonderingly. 'Did he say, "whom"?'
'Yeah, but don't hit him' I said. There is such a word.'
Degarmo licked his lips. ' I knew there was,' he said ' I often wondered where they kept it. ...'

The wise cracking atmosphere through the maze of dead bodies and corrupt officials is why I like Marlowe so much. And while there have been so many imitators through the years, I am amazed how fresh and innovative Chandler seems in comparison. Chandler and Marlowe are definitely worthy of all the acclaim.
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