RE: RARA-AVIS: Fissures in hardboiledness

Date: 27 Apr 2002


Re your question below:

> Wasn't
> Marlowe an Intel officer in WWII? Or am I thinking
> of someone else?

There's no mention in the original Chandler canon of Marlowe ever having been in the service. One of the short story "pastiches" in RAYMOND CHANDLER'S PHILIP MARLOWE mentions that he was briefly an infantry non-com (I think it was in Robert Crais's "The Man Who Knew Dick Bong").

> [Marlowe's] work in
> the DA's office
> supports that as well. A more likely position for a
> child of wealth than
> as a flatfoot.

Marlowe wasn't a prosecutor, he was a criminal investigator for the DA's office. A slightly higher form of flatfoot, but a flatfoot nevertheless. DA's investigators in LA County at that time had deputy sheriff's commissions. Significantly, Bernie Ohls starts out as Chief Investigator for the DA's Office
(and Marlowe's old boss). Later he's transferred to command the Sheriff's Homicide Squad. By "The Pencil" he's the LA Sheriff's Department's acting chief of detectives.

Although it was never explicitly stated in the book, in letters Chandler stated that Marlowe grew up in the small semi-rural town of Santa Rosa, California, and came from humble beginnings.


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