From: James R Winter ( winter_writes@earthlink.net)
Date: 27 Nov 2004

This one was somewhat of a let down after THE BIG SLEEP and FAREWELL, MY LOVELY. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure if it was really Phillip Marlowe THE HIGH WINDOW or some guy with a one-man operation out of LA.

The story is serviceable enough. Marlowe's hired to discreetly recover the Brasher Doubloon (where the movie based on this book got its name. I like that title better.) and bodies start to pile up. Don't get me wrong. Chandler never threw me out of the story at any point, but it just didn't grab me the way TBS, FML, or THE LONG GOODBYE did. A serviceable enough plot with a decent mystery behind it, I did catch myself yawning a few times.

Even Chandler's trademark styling seems a little flatter in this one, like the man's gotten bored with Marlowe. I think it's Chandler's characterizations. Style and plotting were always his strong points, making otherwise bland characters come alive. In THW, where everything is... OK... there's not enough of either to let the characters, other than Marlowe and maybe Lt. Breeze, be anything more than cardboard cutouts. I especially hated Mrs. Murdock. I know I'm supposed to hate her, but she's like a bad hair metal band - three chords and the same damn lyrics over and over again. She sits around and drinks port and verbally abuses anyone within reach.

I suppose Chandler had grown bored with Marlowe for a time, during which he wrote THE HIGH WINDOW. Sixty-three years later, he's left me bored with it, too. If I had to rate this one, I'd give it a C+, maybe a B-, since it didn't kick me out at any particular point. Still, by page 200, I was starting to wonder when this would end.

Then again, I haven't read PLAYBACK yet. I understand that makes a lot of people feel more charitable to even POODLE SPRINGS.

Jim Winter

http://www.jamesrwinter.com http://jamesrwinter.blogspot.com winter-newsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 27 Nov 2004 EST