From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 23 Jan 2004

Re Graham Powell's question about characters in Ross Macdonald's
"The Chill" being inspired by Chandler and his wife, it's been a while since I read Tom Nolan's well-researched bio of the author, but I don't recall that connection being suggested. Though Macdonald certainly did not shy away from using bits and pieces of real lives. At least one of his acquaintances thought he, the acquaintance, was the source of a character. Macdonald's wife, Margaret Millar, was the basis for one of the backstories in "The Chill." The novel is also chock full of literary allusions. From
"The Maltese Falcon," for example, we find a character named Bridget Perrine and a version of the Flitcraft story.

On the subject of "The Chill," a movie version was planned back in the Seventies -- another in the "Harper" series with Paul Newman as the detective. Sam Peckinpah was mentioned as director and Bette Davis was to co-star. Too bad that one didn't make it to film.

Speaking of inspirations, there is a crimeless Chandler short story, "A Couple of Writers," in which a once famous author, a heavy boozer, is living with his currently successful writer wife in a bucolic setting. It's an extremely depressing tale with the blocked writer caught in a hopeless, empty relationship and contemplating suicide. Not much doubt about the sources there. And they aren't the Chandlers.

Dick Lochte

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