Category Archives: Raymond Chandler

Marlowe, Private Eye: season 1

Powers Boothe starred in this 1980s TV show that took Raymond Chandler’s early pulp stories and replaced their original protagonists with the detective from his later novels. The brainchild of British writer-producer-director David Wickes, the first season was made in … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Bryan Forbes, Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 22 Comments

2013 Book to Movie Challenge – completed

I had promised myself that in 2013 I would not undertake any new Challenges … but this one created by Katie over at her Doing Dewey blog proved irresistible. I selected the Movie Aficionado level (a dozen books to be reviewed … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Bill Pronzini, Boileau-Narcejac, Bryan Forbes, Harlan Ellison, Michael Crichton, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler, Richard Matheson, Stanley Ellin | 22 Comments

Top 12 Mystery Movie Remakes

As the movie summer starts to wind down, the sheer number of sequels, remakes and ‘reboots’ certainly can make for a dispiriting summing up. But it is worth remembering that, at least in our genre, there are a great many great … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Chicago, Ernest Hemingway, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico, Miami, Michael Curtiz, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Parker, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, San Francisco, Texas, Top 10, Washington DC | 52 Comments

The Big Sleep (1978)

Michael Winner, the pugnacious British filmmaker (and restaurant critic), died in January at age 77. He dabbled in almost every genre (Westerns, musicals, horror, costume melodrama, war movies etc.) though was most at home with ironic comedies during the 1960s … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Film Noir, London, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 52 Comments

THE GIRL WHO HAD TO DIE (1940) by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

A belated Fedora welcome to 2013, which this year opens with a review of this fine book by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1889-1955), who after a brief dalliance with romance novels became a specialist in psychological suspense and thrillers. The Girl … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Noir, Raymond Chandler, Stark House Press | 37 Comments

2013 Book to Movie Challenge

I had promised myself that in 2013 I would not undertake any new Challenges … but this one created over at the Doing Dewey blog was just too tempting – and besides, it’s not New Year yet so if as … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Clive Egleton, Elleston Trevor, Francis Beeding, Harlan Ellison, Michael Crichton, Parker, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler, Richard Matheson, Richard Stark, Ross Thomas, Stanley Ellin | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

THE ZEBRA-STRIPED HEARSE (1962) by Ross Macdonald

This review is my final contribution to Kerrie’s 2012 Alphabet of Crime community meme for her Mysteries in Paradise blog, which this week reaches the letter Z. It’s been an amazing ride for six months and I am pleased as … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Los Angeles, Mexico, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, William Goldman | 37 Comments

THE LONG WAIT (1951) by Mickey Spillane

Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later at Fedora! After a year and a half of blogging it is time to confront some potentially ingrained snobbery and decided if we have descended to the level of Mickey … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Amnesia, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Friday's Forgotten Book, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler | 57 Comments

K is for … Stuart Kaminsky

The prolific mystery writer and academic Stuart Melvin Kaminsky was born in Chicago in 1934 and spent most of his career as a professor of film. Eventually he would spend 16 years teaching at Northwestern University before becoming a Professor … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Alfred Hitchcock, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Friday's Forgotten Book, George Baxt, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Stephen J Cannell, Stuart Kaminsky | 17 Comments

J is for … Jonathan Latimer

Kerrie’s 2012 Alphabet of Crime community meme over at her Mysteries in Paradise blog continues this week and has reached the letter J. As part of my contribution, I offer a look at the work of Jonathan Latimer, one of … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Columbo, Cornell Woolrich, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Film Noir, Jonathan Latimer, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Screwball, The Thin Man | 20 Comments

DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS (1985) by Ray Bradbury

I delayed reading this book for the best part of thirty years but finally made the leap last week. I was thirty pages in when I heard the news: Ray Bradbury had died at the age of 91. The following, … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Friday's Forgotten Book, Leigh Brackett, Los Angeles, Private Eye, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime | 21 Comments

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)

Imagine a 40s Hollywood movie shot in gorgeous black and white, backed by a swelling Miklos Rozsa score and costumed by Edith Head. Add a dream cast featuring Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Lana Turner, … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, James M. Cain, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 44 Comments

Posthumous collaborations: The April Robin Murders case

The recent BBC TV adaptation of Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood, that classic crime novel left unfinished at the time of the author’s death in 1870, got me thinking about ‘enforced collaborations’ where works were completed post-mortem by other … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Cornell Woolrich, Craig Rice, Ed McBain, Golden Age Girls, Hildegarde Withers, Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, Stuart Palmer | 9 Comments

Twilight (1998) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Originally shot under the title ‘Magic Hour’, this low-key murder mystery has probably received extra attention since the release of the Stephenie Meyer books. If so, some may have been a tad disappointed by the lack of teenage supernatural activity … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Film Noir, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Cops | 24 Comments

Top 101 Film & TV Mysteries

This is a minor milestones for Tipping My Fedora as the blog has now reached its 101st post. So, seeing as it is also my birthday today, what better way to celebrate than with a small indulgence in the company of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Charlie Chan, Columbo, Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy L. Sayers, Film Noir, Giallo, Inspector Morse, Jonathan Latimer, London, Lord Peter Wimsey, Los Angeles, Nero Wolfe, New York, Oxford, Paris, Parker, Philip MacDonald, Philip Marlowe, Philo Vance, Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, Richard Stark, Robert Culp, Ross Macdonald, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Scott Turow, Sherlock Holmes, SS Van Dine, The Thin Man, TV Cops, William Goldman | 31 Comments

THE BISHOP MURDER CASE (1928) by S.S. Van Dine

“Philo Vance / Needs a kick in the pance” – Ogden Nash It is only with hindsight that we can properly discern the ebb and flow of patterns in crime fiction and separate the true trend setters, those destined to … Continue reading

Posted in Dorothy L. Sayers, Ellery Queen, Five Star review, Lord Peter Wimsey, Philo Vance, Raymond Chandler, SS Van Dine, Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 | 11 Comments

MURDER ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD (1977) by Stuart M. Kaminsky

I love movies, especially those from the so-called Golden era (pre-1960) when the studios were seen as glamorous dream factories; and of course I love detective stories. Thus I am a real sucker for books that combine the two, when … Continue reading

Posted in Los Angeles, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Stuart Kaminsky | 12 Comments

Top 20: Private Eye movies

“The bottom is loaded with nice people. Only cream and bastards rise” – HARPER (1966) The private investigator or, in Sherlock Holmes’ case, ‘consulting’ detective, is a figure completely embedded into the history of the crime and mystery genre, but … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Dashiell Hammett, Film Noir, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, William Goldman | 61 Comments

Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

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Audio review: PLAYBACK by Raymond Chandler

I first published this review over at my Audio Aficionado blog but I think it belongs more properly here with my other Fedora tips.

Playback (1958) is generally agreed to be the least of Chandler’s novels, with its slender plot and small cast of characters; but on the other hand this works to its advantage in the broadcast medium. In fact the novel, which I previously reviewed here, had its roots in an original screenplay of the same name written between 1947 and 1948 for Universal Studios but never produced. Those interested to compare the now three iterations of this material can read the complete script online.

The Plot: PI Philip Marlowe is mixing a little business with pleasure – he’s getting paid to follow a mysterious and lovely redhead called Eleanor King. And wherever Miss King goes, trouble seems to follow. But she’s easy on the eye and Marlowe’s happy to do as he’s told, all in the name of chivalry, of course. But one dead body later and what started out to be a lazy day’s snooping soon becomes a deadly cocktail of blackmail, lies, mistaken identity – and murder … Continue reading

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P is for … Polygamy and Poodle Springs

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter P. My third contribution this week is …

POODLE SPRINGS (1989) by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker

Over at his estimable Classic Mystery blog the Puzzledoctor recently posted a review that combined the letter P and matrimony, which I thought was darn clever given the Royal Wedding hullabaloo over the past weekend. As a cheeky homage, let me counter (with apologies to the good doctor) with a brief overview of what might be termed a polygamous book (in many senses) …
At the time of his death in 1959 Raymond Chandler was working on a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe, the immortal private eye he created twenty years earlier in The Big Sleep. Tentatively entitled ‘The Poodle Springs Story’, Chandler’s parody of Palm Springs, it sees Marlowe married off to Linda Loring, the wealthy socialite he first met in The Long Good-bye (1953) and who proposed to him at the end of Playback (1958). Chandler left some notes and four completed chapters of his new story after wrestling with it for months, unsure if marrying off Marlowe was a good idea or not. Nearly thirty years later Robert B. Parker, the creator of Boston PI Spenser, was tasked with turning these scant 20 or so pages into a novel. Continue reading

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O is for … THE ORIGIN OF EVIL (1951) by Ellery Queen

As the Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog reaches the letter O, my second nomination this week, also eligible under the guidelines of Bev’s 2011 Mystery Readers Challenge, is …

O is for … THE ORIGIN OF EVIL by Ellery Queen

This is the third and last of Ellery Queen’s ‘Hollywood’ novels and indeed the three have been published together as an omnibus, though this does tend to emphasise the massive change of style in the final volume.

Indeed, what we are offered here is a jaundiced view of Hollywood and of the great detective himself, who here acts without the help and support of his father in a story which is much more redolent of the post-war noir sensibility we would more normally associate with Woolrich or Chandler for instance. It is a rich and strange novel, one that while being unmistakably ‘Queenian’ shows authors Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee continuing to explore new formulas to try and incorporate increasingly complex themes within the mystery genre. Continue reading

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PLAYBACK (1958) by Raymond Chandler

“Guns never settle anything. They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act.”

Some detectives get go out in a blaze of glory like Poirot in Agatha Christie’s near-posthumous Curtain or Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse in The Remorseful Day; more often than not though the law of diminishing returns has set in long before their final farewell. Certainly one wouldn’t want to remember Lord Peter Wimsey only through Busman’s Honeymoon or Albert Campion in The Mind Readers or John Dickson Carr for The Hungry Goblin, to name just a few. Christie it should be noted employed a particularly ingenious solution to try to bypass this problem as the novel has in fact been written over 30 years earlier – certainly, if one compares it with the final books she completed, such as Elephants Can Remember (the actual final Poirot book) or Postern of Fate, the contrast is very stark indeed so as to make one even more grateful for her foresight.

Playback (1958) is generally agreed to the be the least of Chandler’s novels, with its slender plot and small cast of characters; but on the other hand this works to its advantage in the broadcast medium as discussed in the review of the recent BBC radio version over at Audio Aficionado Continue reading

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H is for … HAZELL PLAYS SOLOMON (1974) by PB Yuill

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter H, so I nominate …

HAZELL PLAYS SOLOMON (1974) by PB Yuill

“My name is James Hazell and I’m the biggest bastard who ever pushed your bell-button”

And so begins the first in a series of three brisk novels (and one short story) featuring the East End of London’s answer to Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and the Continental Op. It’s a great opening line, but not really that representative of the tone of the book as a whole, or of the lead character either come to that.

Hazell is 33, recently divorced, a recovering alcoholic and late of the Metropolitan Police Force (following a severe beating from a vicious gang of thieves who virtually destroyed his ankle). After hitting skid row (or the East End of London’s equivalent) he is trying to put his life back together as a private inquiry agent. Although undeniably tough (and emotionally immature) he is also far from being a total cynic – he has a lot more in common say with Ross Macdonald’ Lew Archer (featured in last week’s post) than cro-magnum PI’s like Mike Hammer and with considerably more humour than either. Continue reading

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Guides to Mystery Fiction

Like so many aficionados of the genre, I got into mystery fiction at an early age, probably through exposure to film and TV adaptations. I certainly remember the great excitement of seeing the movie version of DEATH ON THE NILE (1978) when I was 10 years old at my local ABC cinema in Maidenhead and I suspect that I started reading Agatha Christie’s novels very shortly afterwards. The same was also probably the case with the much-filmed books by Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler, the first ‘adult’ authors that I remember reading and getting really excited about. My fascination with the history of the genre is also fairly easy to pin down – it began when I came across the original 1972 edition in hardback of Julian Symons’ personal history of the genre, Bloody Murder (published in the US as ‘Mortal Consequences’), at the local library while visiting my grandparents in Horsham, West Sussex. After 30 years I still find myself regularly referring to it and so it has to come top of my list of reference works on the genre. Continue reading

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G is for … THE GALTON CASE (1959) by Ross Macdonald

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter G, so I nominate …
THE GALTON CASE (1959) by Ross Macdonald
Private detective Lew Archer (known in some editions as Lew Arless, and in the cinema, as played by Paul Newman, as ‘Lew Harper’) first appeared in THE MOVING TARGET (1949) by John Macdonald, a pseudonym for Margaret Millar’s husband Kenneth (named, not insignificantly as we shall see, after his father, John Macdonald Millar). Following complaints from fellow mystery writer John D. MacDonald, the pseudonym quickly transmuted into ‘Ross Macdonald’ as the books grew in critical acclaim. Macdonald in fact was quickly heralded as the natural successor to Hammett and Chandler in the hardboiled genre, a serious author using the crime genre with literary intent and not just a purveyor of tough guy pulp fictions. The eighth Archer novel, THE GALTON CASE, was first published in 1959 and in many ways can be seen as a turning point in Millar’s career. Continue reading

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Philip Marlowe returns to BBC radio

Raymond Chandler’s immortal private eye Philip Marlowe today makes a return to radio. The last time the BBC adapted the novels, UK-based American character actor Ed Bishop took the role in 90-minute versions of the first six novels in the series broadcast between 1977 and 1988, omitting the final book Playback.

Now that book, along with Poodle Springs, the Chandler fragment that was turned into a full-length novel thirty years later by Robert B. Parker, are to be included in a cycle of eight adaptations. Continue reading

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