The pieces in this collection show the creator of Phillip Marlowe to be a sensitive and thoughtful man, though someone who seemed to like nothing more than speaking his mind. Chandler kept up lively correspondences with friends and in his letters he comments with true candor on books, films, people, and the characters he created. In one priceless letter he berates a publisher over the cover of an edition of Farewell, My Lovely: "The bedspring shown in your cover illustration is entirely wrong, since it is a type of spring which is very light and would be useless as a weapon ..." And with that, he's only getting started. In excerpts from his notebooks he holds forth on writing, and one of the masters of the hardboiled mystery passes along much working knowledge of his craft. Chandler's essay "Writers In Hollywood," which first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945, holds up wonderfully (though if published today it would require the addition of some zeros to the figures Chandler cites). Raymond Chandler Speaking is a small treasure house of lively thoughts and crisp prose.
Tough-minded and typically idiosyncratic, here is Chandler on Chandler, the mystery novel, writing, Hollywood, TV, publishing, cats, and famous crimes. This skillfully edited selection of letters, articles, and notes also includes the short story "A Couple of Writers" and the first chapters of Chandler's last Philip Marlowe novel, The Poodle Springs Story, left unfinished at his death. Paul Skenazy has provided a new introduction for this edition as well as a new selected bibliography.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful: "The Simple Art of Editing" Part 2: 99.99% useless, November 17, 2002 Reviewer: Kris from Portland, OR United States I believe the first edition of this book was published in the late sixties. Well before the 1982 publication of Frank MacShane's gigantic tome "The Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler", and Robert B. Parker's "Poodle Springs" in which he would complete "The Poodle Springs Story" But now that those books exist (one of which has been reprinted in two seperate editions to tie in with HBO's 1998 telvision movie "Poodle Springs") they make "Raymond Chandler Speaking" obsolete and as such 99.99% useless. All of the essays that are reprinted are also reprinted in the stellar Library of America volume "Later Novels and Other Writings" All of the added together means that the sole reason to purchase "Raymond Chandler Speaking" is the short story "A Couple of Writers". Why no one else has reprinted it is beyond me. And another thing, how can a whole section be devoted to Raymond Chandler on famous crimes and not include Chandler's 1948 article for "Cosmopolitan" "The Ten Greatest Crimes of the Century"??? In which case "Raymond Chandler Speaking would only be 99.98% useless as this article has not been published in book form. I obtained my copy from the public library in the form of a grainy photocopy. As near as I can tell, this paperback copy was published in '97 which would have given them more than enough time from the publication of Macshane and Parker's books to revise this new edition to include more relevant items.