About the Author
Raymond Chandler was born in 1888 and published his first story in 1933 in the pulp magazine Black Mask. By the time he published his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), featuring, as did all his major works, the iconic private eye Philip Marlowe, it was clear that he had not only mastered a genre but had set a standard wo which others could only aspire. Chandler created a body of work that ranks with the best of twentieth-century literature. He died in 1959.
A wealthy Pasadena widow with a mean streak, a missing daughter-in-law with a past, and a gold coin worth a small fortune—the elements don't quite add up until Marlowe discovers evidence of murder, rape, blackmail, and the worst kind of human exploitation.
"Raymond Chandler is a star of the first magnitude."-- Erle Stanley Gardner
"Raymond Chandler has given us a detective who is hard-boiled enough to be convincing . . . and that is no mean achievement." -- The New York Times
A solid Philip Marlowe novel, August 1, 2003 Reviewer: flask007 from Alaska, USA Raymond Chandler's "The High Window" is catchy; far more so than any similar novel penned by Mickey Spillane or James M. Cain. It has all the noirish elements needed to be a great read: a rare coin is the perfect MacGuffin; a sultry, adulterous blonde provides the jaded sexual appeal; an emotionally-abused young lady is the damsel in distress; a psychotic villain is flawlessly despicable and the labyrinthine plot is well-nigh impossible to predict until the very last page. The above having been said, this well-written novel is not without its faults. My three qualms lie with what essentially was the waste of a spectacular character, Eddie Prue, the retread of "The Big Sleep" formula and the lack of suspense. Addressing the first qualm, a subtle tension builds between the one-eyed Eddie Prue -- an emotionless bagman -- and wise-cracking Marlowe for the latter half of the novel. This mounting tension is left entirely unresolved and, thus, is dissatisfying. The second qualm is that the Mrs. Murdock character seems to be carbon copy of General Sternwood from "The Big Sleep." They share far too many characteristics: a very wealthy recluse, physically disabled, world-wearily disillusioned, hampered by ailments, grim outlook, wayward offspring, etc. It seems that Chandler could have fleshed her character's uniqueness out just a tad more. Lastly, the lack of suspense throughout the novel may bore the casual reader. If it was not for Chandler's lively prose, I would have nodded off. The only time in which I was worried as to Marlowe's well-being was when he first hears Prue's voice in a very well-written piece. Despite these trivial flaws, it is a first rate novel and well-worth picking up.