Completely Forgot: Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, 1940 first print, 2007 for Overdrive.com title.
How the hell did I forget to write this one down? I was just downloading another audio book and the software package still had this one listed. I listened to this on my broken phone. I thought I had noted what I finished listening to on that phone.
Phillip Marlowe is in downtown Los Angeles trying to track down a deadbeat. He sees a huge man in a garish suit go into a neighboring business. Pretty soon everyone inside that business is running out the door. Marlowe is intrigued. Marlowe goes inside to take a look. The business is a dance club. You pay a fee and dance with the ladies on staff. Big Galoot In An Ugly Suit is demanding to know where his former girlfriend Velma is.
Big Galoot In An Ugly Suit just got out of the slammer and after years of pining for Velma and the fjords he decides to find his lost love. Big Galoot In An Ugly Suit is violent. Big Galoot In An Ugly Suit kills the black man who runs the club. Big Galoot In An Ugly Suit hightails it out of there, but not before scaring the bejeezus out of Marlowe.
Later on Marlowe gets a call asking for his PI skills to handle a ransom trade for stolen jewels. At this point you may as well look at the Wikipedia entry because that is what I started doing. Hell, I finished this several months ago. I don't remember the whole plot.
Chandler is Chandler. He doesn't make much money. He doesn't have close friends. He keeps his ideas to himself. He doesn't trust people easily. He gets involved in murder cases.
I presume Chandler is still remembered by people as a groundbreaking novelist. I'm 46 and certainly grew up learning that Chandler was a BIG DEAL. I wonder if the home video and cable TV explosions of the 1980s are part of that. From the 1950s to the 1970s was Chandler's literary reputation skipped over?
Except for the weekend late night show on the local PBS station not many stations within broadcast range of Champaign, IL showed old movies. Once TBS and WGN were available I regularly saw old Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, and Godzilla flicks. Once VHS tapes hit the streets all those old flicks came out again.
I cannot recall how I first heard of Chandler and Hammett. There is a good chance it came from watching or reading about The Maltese Falcon. The film stayed famous but I never heard about the novel.