Review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never read a book by Raymond Chandler. I have no idea why, especially since in my teen years I went through a mystery stage. I could not get enough of them. Chandler has one book on my 1001 list and so I decided it was time to read one of the masters. Before I get to my review, here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

Well that sounds pretty good. It’s a quick read and I loved the dialogue. Seriously, the man knows how to write dialogue. At first I couldn’t put the book down. There’s twist after twist. And Marlowe is cool, in a jerky kind of way. It was hard to determine who was good and bad—a key element in a mystery. And even the really evil characters were enjoyable. It’s fun when you really hate a character you are supposed to despise.

What bugged me about this book, was the ending. When I finished it, I was scratching my head. After building it up so much I expected more. Instead it fizzled out. The Better Half read the book this past summer and warned me that I would feel this way. I was determined to prove The Better Half wrong. I was going to like the ending no matter what. Don’t you just hate it when your partner is right? I can never win.

Even though I didn’t like the ending, I really enjoyed Chandler’s writing style and I can’t wait to read the rest of his books. This is my first contribution to Carl’s reading event, R. I. P. I’m so far behind this year. Good thing I didn’t commit to a set number of books for the event. This is the 83rd book I’ve read from my 1001 list.

On a side note, today on my other blog, Making My Mark, I revealed the cover of my newest novel, Marionette. Hop on over if you’re curious.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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15 Responses to Review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

  1. I must disagree. I thought the ending captured the motif and mood of the novel perfectly. After all, the mystery is solved but at what profit to anyone? The world is a slightly better place (maybe) but at a truly high cost.

    • TBM says:

      yes! Someone who thinks the better half is wrong. I agree, it was at a high cost. You’ve given me food for thought. But more importantly, I can now use your argument against TBH. You’re the best!

  2. Caroline says:

    I like Chandler exactly beacuse of his endings. He’s not really a crime writer, in my book, just an excellent writer who uses crime as a starting point. It’s never really about “who did it”.
    He is one of my favourite writers. I never thought marlowe’s a jerk. quite the contrary. He’s very sensitive, he never even harms a fly. He’s the only booksih crush I’ve ever had. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I can see your crush. He’s a fun character and underneath his hard exterior, he is pretty sensitive. I think I need to read more books to get to know him more. And I like your point that the books aren’t centered around the crime. That is something I’ll have to keep in mind the next time I read one of his books. I’m curious to see how I’ll react to the other endings in the series.

  3. Vishy says:

    Great review, TBM. Nice to know that you liked Chandler’s dialogue. I read ‘The Big Sleep’ a few years back and loved the dialogue. I saw the movie version later and liked that too. Though as you said, it is difficult, at some point to say who is the good character and who is the bad one.

    • TBM says:

      I really enjoyed the intrigue surrounding many of the characters. I love a good story that doesn’t just shout, “This is the bad guy–hate him.” I want to figure things out slowly.

  4. Novroz says:

    The ending is always a big deal…at least for me. I think your feeling toward this book is same with mine toward The Wishing Game. Great book but the ending makes me strach my head

    • TBM says:

      I see Caroline’s point and I understand why she liked the ending. For me, though, I was let down some. I was enjoying every second until the last few pages. Maybe I expected too much.

  5. Fergiemoto says:

    Good to know you enjoyed this writing style. Thanks for the review!

  6. Jo Bryant says:

    I have never read the book…but…being an over the top, completely insane about Humphrey Bogart type of girl…I am crazy about the movie.

  7. Ooh, this sounds like one for my wish list!

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