Review: Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely
Raymond Chandler
Series: Phillip Marlowe #2
Genre: Adult Mystery
Released: 2005 (first published 1940)
by Penguin
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

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‘Cute little redhead,’ she said slowly and thickly. ‘Yeah, I remember her. Song and dance. Nice legs and generous with ’em.’

Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married – until someone framed Malloy for armed robbery. Now his stretch is up and he wants Velma back. PI Philip Marlowe meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help him. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe’s search for Velma turns up plenty of dangerous gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later. And soon what started as a search for a missing person becomes a matter of life and death…

Like with most books that I buy, this had been collecting dust on my shelf for quite sometime. I have already read and been impressed by The Big Sleep, and I don’t like abandoning a series, so I just had to read this next installment. The small review on the back really sings the book’s praises and it even has an introduction (that usually signals that something is good).

As with the first book, I love the pulp feel of the cover. The colours are incredibly vibrant and really stand out on a shelf. The female legs are a bit odd, I’m not sure of whom they belong to; they could be Velma’s or any other important female character.

I was incredibly impressed with The Big Sleep, so I kind of expect this book to be just as good. It’s physically thicker, so there’ll probably be things expanded on. I’m really looking forward to reading this book and maybe even solving the mystery myself.

I am the worst bookworm in the world. I really am. I got completely side-tracked from reading this book and I nearly forgot what had happened. That may be a sign that my interest wasn’t sparked and I was bored, but my reason is that I was a bit confused. There’s about three cases going on at the same time; helping Malloy, solving a murder, and finding a racketeer. For me, that’s a bit too much to happen at the same time (which is why the film Valentine’s Day didn’t do it for me). With the three cases going on, the plot became a bit of a spider web. However, they do get tied up, as mystery writers tend to do, so that was a relief. I liked the whole “missing person” aspect of the novel because little clues are dotted around the narrative.

This time around, I didn’t really pay as much attention to Marlowe as I did in the previous book, my attention was mainly focused on other character. A lot of the characters were written to be your typical shady characters that have a lot to hide and they were a lot more interesting and shady in this book.

I would’ve liked to have seen a lot more of Anne Riordan, she was particularly interested and I felt that she wasn’t expanded much on and didn’t appear much throughout the novel. She as a pretty feisty character who I liked.

Marlowe was definitely expanded a lot more in this book. Some of this narrative in certain parts of the book seemed to be nonsensical, but they soon started to make sense. He’s a kind of a no nonsense sort of man and he does whatever it takes to get a job done. I also liked how he doesn’t let a woman get in the way of a job, even though he does use them and gets used in return.

I’m not familiar with the USA so I was unsure of whereabouts Bay City is in California, since Marlowe is able to get to there from Los Angeles. Is it a district of Los Angeles or is it a completely different city? Not much attention is paid to the settings, which I guess is a good thing as it focused on the action of the novel, rather than being fancy and focusing on Marlowe’s surroundings.

I didn’t really pick up on any particular themes in the novel but a  lot of small things stood out that I didn’t understand. For example, a pink bug climbing up City Hall is mentioned a few times. I didn’t understand what that was about at all. I didn’t see any significance.

I really admire Chandler’s writing style. He made Marlowe’s voice incredibly witty and observable without going over the top. I love how he doesn’t use any clichéd similes but makes his own up, for example;

“…like a fly with one wing”

for when describing how an injured bar patron crawls across the floor. His similes are very realistic. The observations that Marlowe makes are incredibly detailed but they don’t go over the top. They really give a good idea of what a character or room looked like. There are some racial slurs, but not ones that are incredibly offensive.

This book confused me at times, and that’s kind of my own fault. However, I did enjoy the writing style and the characters. The book is somewhat engaging, but it is a bit boring at times.

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