The fifth volume in Carroll and Graf's successful series of literary references, which has included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Hardboiled Mystery Writers, and The Beats, provides an engagingly documented account of Raymond Chandler's life and work. Born in Chicago in 1888 but raised in Victorian England, Chandler was publishing poetry in London literary magazines when he set out at twenty-four for California and a business career. Two decades later he held the directorship of a lucrative oil conglomerate, until heavy drinking ended all that. Forced to return to professional writing for his livelihood, with artistic aspirations Chandler began writing detective stories in the hard-boiled style of Dashiell Hammett for popular pulp magazines. Then, in 1939, he published The Big Sleep, and the world met the slick, wisecracking sleuth Philip Marlowe in a decadent, glamorous Los Angeles rife with gangsters, crooked politicians, and dissolute movie queens. Amply illustrated with personal photographs and with reproductions of manuscript pages, letters, print ads, movie promotions, dust jackets, and paperback covers, this volume follows Chandler's career from his early pulp fiction to his classic detective novels.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: The complex art of Chandler, September 20, 2003 Reviewer: Tim Hodgson from Hamilton Bermuda An excellent, accessible and profusely illustrated bedside companion to Raymond Chandler and his writings. More scrapbook than standard-issue biography, RAYMOND CHANDLER: A LITERARY REFERENCE will delight both Chandler scholars as well as newcomers trying to better negotiate the author's haunted and dog-legged literary mean streets. Chandler veterans and novices alike will find something to enjoy - and often things they never knew - on almost every page. Moss draws on Chandler's own fiction, notebooks and letters as well as contempory reviews, newspaper and magazine articles and published interviews with such colleagues as John Houseman and Billy Wilder to illuminate both the author and his most renowned literary creation, the deadpan knight errant Philip Marlowe. Moss also cites from the posthumous appreciations and essays that began to appear in the 1960s and '70s when the incalculable value of Chandler's literary legacy began to be more widely appreciated in the United States. Despite the multiple sources he employs, the result of Moss' efforts is a seamless and beautifully limned pen-portrait of one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. The book will serve as a handy *aide memoire* to the initiated, a point of departure for further research to those just beginning to explore the beauty and power of Chandler's writing and the loneliness of his life. Very highly recommended.