The High Window

The High Window[Reading] ➶ The High Window ➬ Raymond Chandler – A wealthy Pasadena widow with a mean streak a missing daughter in law with a past and a gold coin worth a small fortune—the elements don't uite add up until Marlowe discovers evidence of murder rape A wealthy Pasadena widow with a mean streak a missing daughter in law with a past The High PDF/EPUB or and a gold coin worth a small fortune—the elements don't uite add up until Marlowe discovers evidence of murder rape blackmail and the worst kind of human exploitation. Like all of Raymond Chandler’s novels The High Window features private detective Philip Marlowe as first person narrator reporting events unfolding as he attempts to crack a case in sun soaked Los Angeles I marvel at his perceptiveness and cleverness Can anybody surpass Marlowe in his ability to see all the angles to size people up to catch all the clues to ask the right uestions to crack wise at those times cracking wise is the wisest to put the puzzle together so all the pieces fit in place? Maybe Sam Spade or other top dog dicks but that's about it Oh clever Odysseus who fooled the Cyclopes who heard the song of the Sirens and lived to tell the tale Raymond Chandler gave you a rebirth as a private eyeFor anybody unfamiliar with Chandler here is a snatch of dialogue taking place in Marlowe's office when a member of a very rich family comes to speak with the detectiveHe looked me over without haste and without much pleasure He blew some smoke delicately and spoke through it with a faint sneerYou're Marlowe?I noddedI'm a little disappointed he said I rather expected something with dirty fingersCome inside I said and you can be witty sitting downI held the door for him and he strolled past me flicking cigarette ash on the floor with the middle nail of his free hand He sat down He leaned back in his chair with the smile of a bored aristocratAll set? I inuired Pulse and respiration normal? You wouldn't like a cold towel on your head or anythingThrough Marlowe Chandler introduces us to a host of gangsters crooks con artists thugs goons and their dames who take turns planning threatening and committing violence as if they were flesh and blood members of the weasel patrol from Toontown Here is another bit of dialogue where Marlowe watches from behind a curtain as a shady nightclub manager speaks to his wife after they find his wife's boyfriend shot in the headSilence Then the sound of a blow The woman wailed She was hurt terribly hurt Hurt in the depths of her soul She made it rather goodLook angel Morny snarled Don't feed me the ham I've been in pictures I'm a connoisseur of ham Skip it You're going to tell me how this was done if I have to drag you around the room by your hair Now did you wipe off the gun?Philip Marlowe is not only an incredibly super sharp observer but he is also an intelligent well educated highly ethical man Two cases in point when the name Heathcliff is mentioned he knows the character is from Wuthering Heights and when someone shows him entries in a diary he alludes to the Diary of Samuel Pepys This contrast between the crime and social grime of 1940s Los Angeles and the presence of Philip Marlow gives Chandler's work real abiding depthThere are hundreds of authors some very good who have written detective fiction or crime fiction but what sets Raymond Chandler apart is the polished literary language matching any American author including the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway William Falkner This is the prime reason I have included the above uotes and the reason I will end this review with another sparkling vintage Chandler uote this one where Marlowe describes the woman he sees when being led by a tall dark olive skinned crook to the back yard of a suburban LA mansionA long limbed languorous type of showgirl blond lay at her ease in one of the chairs with her feet raised on a padded rest and a tall misted glass at her elbow near a silver ice bucket and a Scotch bottle She looked at us lazily as we came over the grass From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away Her mouth was too wide her eyes were too blue her makeup was too vivid the thin arch of her eyebrows was almost fantastic in its curve and spread and the mascara was so thick on her eyelashes that they looked like miniature iron railings In this worthy companion to The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely Marlowe tracks a rare colonial coin called The Brasher Doubloon finds a corpse clears an innocent suspect and ever the knight in tarnished armor rescues a damsel in distress This novel features a handful of well drawn stock characters an iron dowager and her entourage consisting of an effete son and a mousy secretary a B movie actor turned big time gambler who is protected by a six foot five henchman both with scars round heeled ex showgirl Lois Magic gin joint contralto Linda Conuest and a good no nonsense middle aged cop named Breeze And of course those great overheated Chandler metaphors Now our friend Philip Marlowe a private dick in Los Angeles during the 1940's is a nice guymost of the time he wouldn't murder anyone who didn't need it maybe not real accurate but in this novel he does let two killers escape justicethe victims were worst than the perpetrators An opinion I'm sure the readers will concur In Pasadena a small uiet wealthy city outside LA lives in one of those mansions that some people envy other hate a certain Mrs Elizabeth Bright Murdock twice widowedone under very strange circumstanceshe fell out of a high window thus the title The intoxicated lady is a little rotund the kind who can't see her feet if she were to stand up which she seldom will Not a heart of gold either like stonebecause of illness asthma consumes a vast uantity of Portuguese Port wine feeling no pain a very sweet taste a favorite of George Washington Mr Marlowe is reuired to find the priceless gold coin stolen from her the Brasher Doubloon in her late husband's collection apparently by Linda Conuest who left in a hurry not happy a former singer in night clubs her weak son's Leslie's wife but dear old mother loves him the jerkhe has surprise huge gambling debts And they a bunch of vicious criminals want their money In the tense dark environment inside the huge suffocating and dreary mausoleum where the timid frightened servants uake serving Mrs Murdock but enough praise of this structure Also there is a small uiet room a hidden cubicle little known about of its existence in the rather now uaint some unkind ignorant people will say what An edifice an oasis Merle Davis where Mrs Murdoch's fragile pleasant secretary works Enchanted oddly by Leslieshe has a mystery in her pastwith a gun in her desk Events that follow are the usual slaughter of the despicable the sleazy and the poor pathetic humans that inhabit the smoggy metropolis a little blackmail on the side gangsters looking around too They the tough police are always suspicious of a man who continuously finds dead bodies Still he claims his innocence but this is becoming let us say unbelievable For an obviously bright guy Marlowe is in a racket that pays littlepeanuts why ? The reason he enjoys the dark brooding atmosphere the excitement the police harassment beautiful women in distress needing his help and comfort He feels alive not a nobody then shall we say a hero something his tight lips would never or could ever speak such a strange four letter word rather peculiar for today very unfashionable too in a cynical ageRaymond Chandler again reveals his prodigious talent letting the public see the underworld of a town called Hollywood he lived and worked there only this writer can show so well like it or notundoubtedly the majority will enjoy The High Window is another excellent novel featuring Raymond Chandler's hard boiled LA detective Philip Marlowe although to my mind it's not uite on a par with Chandler's masterpieces The Big Sleep and The Long GoodbyeThe case opens when a wealthy twice widowed Pasadena woman named Elizabeth Bright Murdock hires Marlowe to discreetly recover a valuable coin that has been stolen from her first's husband's collection The client insists that her daughter in law whom she hates has taken the coin although she has no proof The daughter in law has either left or been driven from the home Mrs Murdock wants Marlowe to uietly find the woman and get the coin back The police are most certainly not to be involvedAll in all this is a pretty strange household that also includes Mrs Murdock's wimpy son and a severely repressed young secretary whom the widow treats like a doormat Marlowe takes the case although he pretty much knows from the git go that everyone is lying to him including his clientWell of course they are and before long poor Marlowe is up to his neck in a case that involves gambling infidelity blackmail and a small handful of murders As is the case with any Raymond Chandler plot it's all pretty confusing although in the end this one gets sorted out better than mostAs always it's great fun to follow Marlowe through these tangled webs and as always the book is beautifully written in a style that has often been imitated but never matched Raymond Chandler and his tattered detective were each one of a kind She saw the cut glass decanter took the stopper out poured herself a drink and tossed it down with a uick flip of the wrist“You’re a man named Marlowe?” she asked looking at me She put her hips against the end of the desk and crossed her anklesI said I was a man named Marlowe“By and large” she said “I am uite sure I am not going to like you one damn little bit So speak your piece and drift away” It’s a hard boiled world out there and a man named Marlowe must go down into its sewers in his pursuit of what we can probably name “The Mystery of the Brasher Doubloon” In an opening scene that induces in the reader familiar with Chandler’s novels a strong feeling of deja vu Marlowe is called to an opulent mansion by a cranky old person of feeble health and given an easy job not to find a missing young woman but to track down a missing very rare and precious gold coin All I knew about the people was that they were a Mrs Elizabeth Bright Murdock and family and that she wanted to hire a nice clean private detective who wouldn’t drop cigar ashes on the floor and never carried than one gun What she gets instead is “Phil Marlowe The shop soiled Galahad” the disillusioned gumshoe with the sharp eye and the whiplash repartee Marlowe smells a rat right from the start but the rent must be paid and so he sets out to the mean streets where heavy gamblers are slapping their moes suave funeral directors manage the crime in the neighborhood cops are only too willing to frame you for murder young upstart detectives get chewed on as appetizers by the local sharks clues lead from rundown dental businesses to posh and illegal gambling dens and beautiful starlets are as trustworthy as hungry hyenasChandler didn’t get to the top of my noir catalogue for his convoluted and improbable plot twists It was always right from the first page I read back in my school day all about atitude and style I haven’t revisited his dark universe recently fearing my youthful enthusiasm will not survive a critical view but I discovered instead that the thrill is still there and that the lyrical side of Marlowe is today even appealing than his tough guy delivery Bunker Hill is old town lost town shabby town crook town Once very long ago it was the choice residential district of the city and there are still standing a few of the jigsaw Gothic mansions with wide porches and walls covered with round end shingles and full corner bay windows with spindle turrets They are all rooming houses now their paruetry floors are scratched and worn through the once glossy finish and the wide sweeping staircases are dark with time and with cheap varnish laid on over generations of dirt In the tall rooms haggard landladies bicker with shifty tenants On the wide cool front porches reaching their cracked shoes into the sun and staring at nothing sit the old men with faces like lost battlesOut of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled down hats and uick eyes that look the street over behind cupped hand that shields the match flame; worn intellectuals with cigarette coughs and no money in the bank; fly cops with granite faces and unwavering eyes; cokies and coke peddlers; people who look like nothing in particular and know it and once in a while even men that actually go to work But they come out early when the wide cracked sidewalks are empty and still have dew on them No other crime writer has been able to replicate these soul damning similes or to match the sarcastic commentary on the predatory world the private detective must navigate while keeping true to his inner sense of justice Even when not firing from all cylinders like in the case of the present novel Chandler is still in a league of his own He can make even a grocery list or a bland description of his office sound like poetry Three hard chairs and a swivel chair flat desk with a glass top five green filing cases three of them full of nothing a calendar and a framed license bond on the wall a phone a washbowl in a stained wood cupboard a hatrack a carpet that was just something on the floor and two open windows with net curtains that puckered in and out like the lips of a toothless old man sleepingThe same stuff I had had last year and the year before that Not beautiful not gay but better than a tent on the beach I am pretty sure I will not remember much of the plot five years from now which might actually be a bonus since I can re read the novel and still enjoy some surprises – like why is the title referring to a window when the mission is about a gold coin? view spoiler because there are actually three or four separate crimes that get tangled together one of them decades old hide spoiler Whenever I review one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels I feel like I should be doing it with a half bottle of rye on the desk next to the cigarette burning in an ashtray with my fedora pushed back on my head But I uit smoking years ago and I don’t bounce back from hangovers uite the way I used to so I try not to chug whiskey from the bottle these days unless it‘s a dire emergency Maybe I can still get the hatMarlowe gets hired by a ball busting old bag who thinks that that the daughter in law she despises ran off with a valuable rare gold coin from her late husband’s collection As usual Marlowe soon finds himself wrapped up in a mess including several murders as he is forced to preserve the confidentiality of a client he doesn’t like against cops pressing him for answersThis was a Chandler I hadn’t read before and I had a surprisingly hard time getting into it for some reason After a while the lines like “From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class From 10 feet she looked something made up to be seen from 30 feet away’ got me into the groove and while I wouldn’t call it the best Marlowe I’ve read I ended up enjoying it uite a bitThe thing that nudge it from a solid 3 stars to 4 was the ending view spoilerI loved that after Marlowe figured out the whole mess that he essentially just threw up his hands and decided to let it play out with only a few nudges from him while he focused on trying to help the one true victim hide spoiler Philip Marlowe is hired to find the Brasher doubloon a valuable gold coin stolen from its owner Marlowe trails the owner's daughter in law thinking she stole the coin Marlowe's path leads him into a web of murder and blackmail Will Marlowe be able to find who stole the doubloon without winding up on the pile of corpses left in its wake?As I continuously mention noir fiction of this type agrees with me like a bottle of Mad Dog does a homeless man The High Window Raymond Chandler's third Philip Marlowe book is no exceptionA wise man once said No one reads Raymond Chandler for the plot I agree with whomever that wizzened old sage was Chandler never met a plot he couldn't overly complicate but The High Window is one of his coherent ones The search for a stolen doubloon sees multiple men dead and a wealthy family's secrets pulled out of the basement and thrown on the front lawn for all the neighbors to seeMarlowe is Marlowe As usual much of the supporting cast exists mostly for Marlowe to bounce great lines off of andor have sapping or shooting at him The Bright family is a bunch of rotten apples one and all As I said before this is one of Chandler's simpler plots but it's still a bit of a mess It took me a little while to tip to the connection between the dentist and the missing coin The blackmail angle was well done Chandler played his cards close to the vest like always It just made me want to climb up the wall and gnaw my way across the ceiling Marlowe used that line to describe a drink he took That's how I felt about the plot sometimesIt's no surprise by now that Chandler's prose is the star of the show I mentioned in my review of Farewell My Lovely that Chandler's prose sometimes reminded me of a gritty PG Wodehouse I've since learned that Chandler spent a lot of his early life in England so that's a little easier to understand nowWhile it's my least favorite of the three Chandler books I've read so far The High Window is still a great read if for no other reason than to experience Raymond Chandler's prose Not uite a four but it's an overflowing three star read A wealthy widow asked Philip Marlowe to investigate a disappearance of a rare coin from her late husband collection; this disappearance coincidentally happened at the same time as that of her daughter in law There was no love lost between the two so Marlowe's client hopes the PI will be able to dig up enough dirt on her son's wife to get a solid ground for a divorce This seems to be a simple case and Marlowe was able to find the location of both lost coin and escaped person fairly soon but he found himself being shadowed by an unknown person practically from the beginning and then he started stumbling upon dead bodies I do not have much to say about the book other than what I have already said before about the series The writing uality is good; the mystery is excellent it is even better than the ones in the previous books The plot while being anything but straightforward makes the most complicated labyrinth look like a simple walk in a parkThis book and the previous ones made Philip Marlowe a sample after which all private investigators of noir literature were made by the writers who came after Raymond Chandler It is very easy to give this book 5 stars without any reservation Read the series if you have any interest in noir but beware the number of other authors who reached this lever of writing uality in genre since then can be counted with fingers on one hand with some fingers still left to spareThis review is a copypaste of my BookLikes one ‘All right Get on with it I have a feeling you are going to be very brilliant Remorseless flow of logic and intuition and all that rot Just like a detective in a book’I really like Philip Marlowe I've decided I want to look after him He's actually a stand up guy In this book I really preferred the simpler plot not that Chandler's plots are ever terribly complicated Has this one been made into a movie? As with all of this series they all seem very cinematic to me like half remembered movies from long ago But I'm not sure if that's my imagination or faded memoriesSo far in this series Philip Marlowe has almost been an entity outside of Chandlers writing and had an entertainment value almost divorced of the book Oh yeah Philip Marlowe hard boiled noir gumshoe classic wise crackin smart talking etc etc even if you've never read one of the books In this story I felt like I realised Marlowe is a real person and I was a little embarrassed to have been caught smirking at the idea of himHe's an honest guy essentially He treats people with respect when they deserve it or at least when they don't deserve rudeness he's committed to seeing justice loyal to his clients he can hold his own with tough crooks and won't take any nonsense He is smart As you can probably tell I have a crush on a fictional character It's not the first time Where are his friends? He needs a love interest I adore the fact he plays through champion chess games by himself for leisureRecommended but start with book 1 For those of you who haven’t yet read Chandler – and I won’t uestion why – I’m here to tell you the man can write You read him for the words for the atmosphere not for plot The High Window itself has nothing special to recommend it; it’s another instalment one of many roughly eually as good First time around The Lady in the Lake was my favourite; my wife who read them all this year liked The Long Goodbye But it’s the one I re read last week cos it’s tight short cuts to the punch so it’ll doThe Belfont Building was eight stories of nothing in particular that had got itself pinched off between a large green and chromium cut rate suit emporium and a three storey and basement garage that made a noise like lion cages at feeding time The small dark narrow lobby was as dirty as a chicken yard The building directory had a lot of vacant space on it There were two open grille elevators but only one seemed to be running and that not busy An old man sat inside it slack jawed and watery eyed on a piece of folded burlap on top of a wooden stool He looked as if he had been sitting there since the Civil War and had come out of that badlyThing is Chandler it seems could churn out this stuff in his sleep Every building’s a Belfont Building or as vivid; every elevator operator a Civil War veteran or as colourful; every character – from the “long limbed languorous” showgirl “From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away” to the “hard boy” “A great long gallows of a man with a ravaged face and a haggard frozen right eye that had a clotted iris and the steady look of blindness” – as realised as can be for as long as their in sight And here’s the clincher “in sight”? So who’s watching? Probably the greatest near non entity heroanti hero short of Kafka’s K PI Philip Marlowe who puts the “eye” in private eye whose gaze thanks to British poet turned Black Mask pulp magazine workhorse Raymond Chandler’s near impossible deftness is as sharp and resplendent as they come How does he do it? Give this hard bitten hard boiled hard drinking tough guy such elouence? It’s something to see And somehow though or because we know virtually nothing about him this fragile word edifice that is Marlowe convinces us utterly We love the guy Who cares if the plots barely add up or by the time they do we’re past caring? When he talks tender to the femmes fatales I defy you women especially – Chandler against the odds and despite low grade ingrained chauvinism indicative of his times is a ladies’ man not to feel a shiver It’s limited in range but for the slightest tweaks it never changes but for what it is it’s of a very high order beyond Hammett Chandler’s inventor beyond genre uniue despite the imitators as few genre writers ever have been When at the end of The High Window he drives the innocent young woman victim to her parents’ home in Wichita and says goodbye I almost teared up at his laconic summationI had a funny feeling as I saw the house disappear as though I had written a poem and it was very good and I had lost it and would never remember it againSure maybe that’s all Chandler is a poem he’s forgotten But what a poem It could break your heart

The High Window PDF/EPUB ¾ The High  PDF/EPUB or
  • Paperback
  • 265 pages
  • The High Window
  • Raymond Chandler
  • English
  • 06 January 2015
  • 9780394758268