RARA-AVIS: Re: Endings of Parker and Marlowe

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 29 Dec 2004

Jim wrote:

>Maybe it would have been interesting if Chandler had
>continued the notion, but the fact is that Chandler
>already did what Chandler would have done, decide
>POODLE SPRINGS wasn't working, abandon it, and write a
>short story in which Marlowe takes up with a girl he
>figures is too good for him.

Not necessarily. Chandler's last few years were a mess professionally and personally, unproductive and erratic, full of alcohol and botched suicide attempts and contradictory statements. Did he actually abandon POODLE SPRINGS, as Tom Hiney's biography suggests, or did he just put it aside for a while and then run out of time? One theory is that THE PENCIL wasn't written in that Lost Weekend time, but merely polished up and sent out for some quick cash.

Did Chandler ever say anywhere (and was he drunk at the time?) that he was really abandoning POODLE SPRINGS for good, or just that he was having trouble with it? He was so full of doubt, grief, self-pity and booze by the end that even what he said wasn't always a clear indication of what he meant.

(Damn, I wish I had all my books with me)

I'm not saying Chandler didn't abandon it, just that we don't really know. And maybe (probably?) he wouldn't have been able to pull it off. Maybe Parker actually did a better job of it than Chandler could have at that time. It's hard to say, but I still like the idea of Marlowe finally getting the girl for once, even if it's not the girl I picture him with.



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