Farewell, My Lovely
A big bruiser known as Moose Malloy has gotten out of prison after serving 8 years for a bank robbery. He's looking for his girl, a redheaded singer named Velma. LA private investigator Philip Marlowe is on the premises at a club that caters only to blacks when Moose busts in and shoots the manager. Soon after, Marlowe gets hired as a temporary bodyguard by poofy Lindsay Marriott, who is ransoming a fine jade necklace for a friend after it was stolen dur... Playback
I just read Playback for the first time this month, having read & re-read other Chandler novels & short stories for years. I liked it much better than I expected. It's rather short, as if he was never able to work up much interest. It seems to have too much sex. The trouble with the short stories is that (no doubt because the pulps required it) every time the narrator goes through a door, there's bound to be either a corpse or somebody with a gun on ... The Big Sleep
It's Los Angeles in the 1930s. Someone has been blackmailing ailing oil magnate General Sternwood, so he calls in 33-year-old private investigator Philip Marlowe to find out who it is and how serious a matter it might be. In short order, Marlowe meets the General's daughters -- wild teenager Carmen, and inveterate gambler Mrs. Regan, whose husband has gone missing for several weeks -- both beautiful and both trouble. Soon, the Sternwood's young chauffeur... The Little Sister
Little Sister is one of the lesser known Philip Marlowe novels. A young mousey woman from Kansas hires Marlowe to find her brother who has gone missing. In the process of searching, Marlowe discovers a blackmail racket, finds that the brother has been killed and runs into a fake Mexican actress with more than sex on her mind....
The Long Goodbye
A private eye searches through various strata of LA culture for his friend, Terry Lennox, who seems to have disappeared. A major subplot involves an alcoholic novelist with writer's block.
You can read this book for the language and the social observation; one of Chandler's recurring themes is the corruption just below the surface of nearly everything. ...