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The Big Sleep (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – July 12, 1988
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Big Sleep" finds Marlowe in the employ of General Sternwood, a wealthy but dying oil tycoon. Sternwood wants Marlowe to track down a blackmailer who is trying to bleed some money out of the old general. The problem is Sternwood's two daughters, Carmen and Vivian. Both women have major problems; Carmen is just plain weird, suffering from seizures and a penchant for sleeping around with scum of the earth types. Vivian is not much better; she is a heavy gambler who dates (and marries) mob types. In the course of working the case, Marlowe uncovers underground pornography shops, blackmailers, gambling dens, a couple of murders, and other seedy events in the growing town of Los Angeles. Like other Chandler novels, what we initially see is hardly the whole enchilada. While working the case, Marlowe stumbles on deeper and deeper mysteries involving a missing mobster and his abducted wife.
While "The Big Sleep" is Chandler's best known work, it is not his best novel. It seems that Chandler is still working out the style and form later expressed so gallantly in "The Long Goodbye.Read more ›
In some respects THE BIG SLEEP is a problematic novel. The plot concerns detective Philip Marlowe's efforts to protect the wealthy Sternwood family from blackmail--but from this starting point it spins out into several complicated directions. Chandler manages this myriad of elements very well through the first half of the novel, but at mid-point the plot breaks apart into a series of loose ends and improbabilities from which it doesn't recover until the last fifty pages--and then only just. But that is almost beside the point. Thanks to Chandler's unique style, you simply can't put the book down long enough to criticize it.
THE BIG SLEEP reads with tremendous speed and power, creating a portrait of a seamy world ruled by bisexual pornographers, purring hitmen, cheap hoods, and enameled dames determined to have their way no matter what--a fascinating collection of everything small and mean and gutter common. At the same time, it also presents a surprising degree of integrity in the midst of the corruption: Marlowe won't sell out, no matter what the bribe, and behind their various masks the hardbitten Vivien Sternwood, mysterious Mona Mars, and small-time Harry Jones have enough courage, loyalty, and unexpected integrity to win your respect.Read more ›
"Chandleresque" suggests a certain style of writing and of using metaphors and language that can't really be described to anyone unfamiliar with his work without lapsing into stereotype. For any other mystery writer, that would be a negative, but since Chandler is the man who, with The Big Sleep, more or less invented the detective novel as we know it today it's astonishing to read and realize what kind of impact it might have had on those who read the first printing.
The Big Sleep introduces Philip Marlowe as the private eye who is both uncorruptable and one step ahead of his antagonists. His characterization is what drives the story, which as mysteries go is not the most suspensful or even all that mysterious. Indeed, the "mystery" such as it is is barely given notice by Chandler, short of the necessities. While there are some good plot twists, they seem to come together in a generally haphazard manner. None of that matters, because the main interest is in what Marlowe will do next and how he will react. Chandler creates some interesting supporting characters as well, but they float in and out of the story overwhelmed by the protagonist.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic detective novel. I wish more writers were like this, very discriptive you feel like you're in the novel.Published 2 days ago by Pearl
The story was a noir PI novel. I love detective stories normally, but I found myself at times getting bored with the story. Read morePublished 5 days ago by GHJr
Chandler's The Big Sleep is, of course, a classic. It scarcely needs a review.
This Kindle version (ASIN: B01I8V4I5A), however, is available for about a fourth of the... Read more
Might have been good once, but as of now, it's a good example of a novel that's just... expired. Good in context of the hard-boiled detective genre it essentially started, but more... Read morePublished 1 month ago by E
Great writing. Plot and lines are well crafted without being stilted.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This reminded me of an old-fashioned detective show/story. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a whodunit or caper, a good detective story.Published 1 month ago by Andy
Sophisticated, well-crafted detective story. Classic. Highly recommended.Published 1 month ago by Avery