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The High Window

Page history last edited by Jon 12 years, 12 months ago

Chandler, Raymond -- The High Window (1942)


Another really first rate detective novel by this guy.  I no longer believe that he didn't care about plotting.  Chandler may have wanted us to believe he didn't care about it and his critic admirers may want us to believe this still; but for me Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window and The Lady in the Lake all had splendidly complex situations, and all were acceptably ratiocinated by our shop-soiled hero, Marlowe, so I say Baloney!  The raspberry to those guys.


Chandler had wanted to title The High Window The Brasher Doubloon, because the dingus in this tale is this doubloon, a stolen coin Marlow is hired by a nasty, rich old lady to find.  Marlowe soon finds himself in a welter of complications, but Chandler manages to keep the plot strands from getting all tangled.  And you eventually do find out how The High Window figures into it all.  Along the way, there is excellent writing and some nice character studies.  Chandler also does penance for the high misogyny of The Big Sleep.


Not as moving a tale as Farewell, My Lovely or even, quite as much, as The Lady in the Lake, but it' a splendidly-written, first-rate example of a true detective novel.  Don't let them fool you if you haven't read it!  It's not cozy, but it's grand reading, both for its puzzle and for the literary garnishes.


Curt Evans


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