Re: RARA-AVIS: Review of Raymond Chandler Papers - worth reading

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 26 Feb 2001

Kent wrote:

"Chandler is a different proposition. He is remembered because of his written words, not because the film version of the "The Big Sleep" and forgettable versions of his other novels."

Cain and Gardner are in print and, at least in Gardner's case, have probably remained more steadily in print (there have been times in my lifetime when Chandler has been near unobtainable in stores, before you could go deep catalog online) than Chandler. However, Chandler does seem to have more literary cache than the other two. It is Chandler who so often is said to write "real books," not "just mysteries," as if that were something to be ashamed of. So I think a good case could be made that Chandler is more respected, if not better known, than the other two in non-mystery circles.

However, I have a major quibble with the other part of the statement. I really doubt Chandler would be as well known if not for "The Big Sleep" movie, just as Hammett would not be as well known without "The Maltese Falcon" -- I think the popularity of the PI owes a lot to Bogart.

Finally, "Murder My Sweet" is far from forgettable.


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