RARA-AVIS: Re: Question about Raymond Chandler: Two Ladies in the Lake?

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 14 Aug 2007


As Mark says, the short answer is that the novel THE LADY IN THE LAKE was, basically, expanded from the short story "The Lady in the Lake."

The longer answer is this. All but one of the stories in the posthumous KILLER IN THE RAIN collection are stories Chandler combined and expanded into his novels, "cannibilized" to use his term. THE BIG SLEEP combined and expanded "The Curtain" and "Killer in the Rain." FAREWELL, MY LOVELY combined and expanded "Try the Girl," "Mandarin's Jade," and "The Man Who Liked Dogs." THE LADY IN THE LAKE combined and expanded
"The Lady in the Lake" and "Bay City Blues."

Chandler did not want his "cannibilized" material to be reprinted, so there was no collection of these stories until after he died.

The last story in the collection, "No Crime in the Mountains," is sometimes erroneously listed as one of the sources from which Chandler contructed the novel version of THE LADY IN THE LAKE. Indeed, Philip Durham's introduction to KILLER IN THE RAIN, in whic he describes at length Chandler's process of combining and expanding his previously published short fiction, states flatly that "No Crime" was one of the roots of TLITL. Actually, though, if you read the story, you'll find that there's little, aside from the rural setting and a colorful rustic policeman, that this story has in common with the novel, and both those elements are already present in the short story version of "The Lady in the Lake," so there was no reason for Chandler to plunder them from "No Crime."

In fact, Chandler considered including "No Crime" in his "official" short story collection THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER, and he didn't consider including any of his cannibilized material. The reason he excluded "No Crime" was not because it was connibilized, but because he thought that the WW2 espionage plot dated it, and he didn't want to update it to a (presumably) Cold War espionage plot.

And that's probably more than you ever wanted to know.


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