I am currently doing research for my next novel, the first installment in a private detective mystery series set in a near-future America where many laws allow citizens to file lawsuits against those who violate these statutes. In these research reports, I summarize what I’m reading and how that book helped me think about my project. In this report: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler.
Why I Read It:
To see the continued character development of private detective Philip Marlowe and understand how to build a detective series with the second installment in the sequence.
What I Learned:
Marlowe is still Marlowe in this sequel that offers tiny hints at the previous installment but could easily be read as a standalone. But there is a subtle shift in his character: The Big Sleep closed with a now-jaded Marlowe reflecting on another man’s death and the moral turpitude of those surrounding him; Farewell, My Lovely continues with that cynical, vulnerable Marlowe who doesn’t see much good in the world, gets pretty beat up and even admits fear.
My Biggest Takeaway:
An extremely well-balanced novel with crisp dialogue and beautiful descriptive passages that all work to advance the story. Chandler excels at the “show, don’t tell” writing philosophy, something I hope to emulate with the unfamiliar futuristic setting of my series.
Who Would Like It:
Again, fans of character-driven detective fiction. But a quick warning note: the casual racism in this novel gets pretty ugly. I hope it’s merely a sign of Chandler’s time, but other readers might not be so forgiving.