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ISBN: 8402050417
ISBN 13: 9788402050410
By: Raymond Chandler

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About this book

Philip Marlowe's client, a dried-up husk of a woman, wants him to recover a rare gold coin called a Brasher Doubloon, missing from her late husband's collection. Easy. Probably too easy. Unfortunately, each time the Doubloon pops up, so does a murder. That's unlucky for a private investigator, because leaving a trail of corpses around LA gets cops' noses out of joint. If Marlowe doesn't wrap this one up fast, he's going to end up in jail – or worse, in a box in the ground.

Reader's Thoughts


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 quit smoking years ago, and I don’t bounce back from hangovers quite 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 hat….Marlowe 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 answers.This 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 quite a bit.The thing that nudge it from a solid 3 stars to 4 was the ending. (view spoiler)[I 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)]It won’t be replacing The Big Sleep on my All-Time Greatest Detective Novel list, but it’s still Chandler in fine form.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Patrick O'Neil

I was talking with a friend about detective noir mysteries of the 40's and how then it was a genre that was taking a chance, dealing with dark/tough subject matter and social issues, and that's why I find it appealing. It was somewhat like the beat generation writers were to the 60's, or what dope fiend memoirs are today. She agreed and said it was a venue that allowed the reader into a dark subculture that was intriguing, dangerous, and for the most part unattainable – and then she went one further and said, "like all those damn vampire books and movies that are so popular right now." TV shows like True Blood and book/movies like Twilight, where it's borderline necrophilia, outright violent, with heavy suggestions of danger. Or non-vampire stories such as cable shows like Breaking Bad where laws are definitely broken, but the characters are justified in doing so. Because for most people it's an escape into a fantasy that blurs morals, laws and values. They desire the forbidden fruit, they want the seduction, and then they want to go home and live their "normal" lives. Except for some it gets all messed up. They start dressing the part and living the dream. Norwegian Black Death metal bands killing each other and setting fire to churches. Kids in the suburbs going all gangster, getting "thug life" tats and capping domes. And I don't even want go off on that strange-ass Dungeons and Dragons weirdness of the 80's. But I'm getting a little off subject here – okay, a lot off. Yet what I'm trying to say is that what makes a writer like Raymond Chandler interesting is he used the genre to write books like The High Window - where he was able to broach sensitive subjects for the times - like mental health, child/sex abuse, racism, and extra curricular sex under the guise of a "detective mystery." It was a genre that allowed that. The subject matter was dark, and it didn't hold anything back. But it does leave me wondering if Chandler were a writer today what genre would he have chosen? Would he still be a mystery writer or would he be free to write fiction? (whatever that means) I tend to think he wouldn't have been confined to only writing detective stories.


Raymond Chandler’s The High Window sees Philip Marlowe investigating the theft of a rare early American gold coin, the Brasher Doubloon. The case turns out also to involve blackmail and three murders. This is vintage Chandler. The plot is delightfully Byzantine. Marlowe, as usual, finds himself trying to resolve the case in such a manner that at least some vague semblance of justice is done. Which isn’t easy, since just about everybody has something nasty that they’re trying to hide. Chandler is worth reading just for his glorious prose, and his extraordinary ear for dialogue. Add to that one of the most fascinating and complex of all fictional detectives and you have some of the greatest crime writing of all time.

Michael A

This is my third Marlowe book. I've already written a lot about Chandler in general in prior reviews - and this one fails to add anything significantly new to the other two in most details - so I won't have a long review this time.By this point, Chandler had found a working formula and was coasting with it. Less iconic than The Big Sleep, less engaging and witty than Lovely, nevertheless this still was an entertaining afternoon read. This follows all the steps of his writing style and sense of noir story to a tee -- in fact, I'd say his range was more limited than Hammett's, who actually did try to vary up his repertoire a bit in his novels. We have witticisms, a regular cast of oddballs, Marlowe of course and his zen attitude, a jazzy noir story, and good solid pulp writing. All the things you expect from Mr. C, but, again, nothing new either. I'm about to start reading Lady in the Lake, so I hope my review will be a bit more interesting and that that one has something new to offer.Obviously you'll want to read this if you love Marlowe, or his style, but I think the casual fan could safely skip it without much loss. It wasn't his best book..


I loved this book. I was expecting a story about a hard-boiled detective. I expected it to be little dated in some of its attitudes, given the time it was written. I was correct in both those.What I was not expecting was humour. Which, judging from the other reviewers' frequent mention of the wit that is Chandler, only proves that I've been living under a rock most of my life, but truly, I was surprised, and delighted to be!"A check-girl ... came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins." (p. 136) The first sentence made me grin. The second ... what the hell does it mean, really? Who knows, but isn't it evocative? I'd love to have someone describe my eyes that way. Hee.I love, love, love his imagery: "Women who should be young but have faces like stale beer.""Her hair was as artificial as a night club lobby."And his so-clever descriptions of people, which pack so much information into so few words:"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."For me, the solve-the-mystery part was secondary to the fun of the words. This is my first Chandler book, but I'll certainly be reading the other!


How can I not love a detective novel that includes allusions to Wuthering Heights and the Diary of Pepys? The reference to Marlowe as a Galahad figure is especially apt in this installment of the Marlowe novels; the ethical code Marlowe follows is explicitly stated and (it seems to me) more central to his internal conflict than in the other novels. While Chandler's noir focuses on the underbelly of American life, the level of individual corruption (the psychological exploitation of Merle Davis) is far more cruel and devious than plot threads in other novels. Marlowe's handling of Merle and his odious employer are what make him such a compelling character.

Bill Kerwin

In this worthy companion to "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell My Lovely," Marlowe tracks a rare colonial coin called "The Brasher Doubloon." 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 Conquest--and a good no-nonsense middle-aged cop named Breeze. And--of course--those great overheated Chandler metaphors!


In which Philip Marlowe plays a "shop-soiled Sir Galahad," rescuing an emotionally unstable secretary from her absurdly evil employers. Along the way, he runs into the usual murders, double crosses, gangsters, dim-witted cops, and awful rich people. This novel has some of the series' best one-liners; it's an incredibly fun, funny weekend read. The "damsel-in-distress" angle isn't exactly progressive, but Marlowe's chaste, affectionate relationship with the secretary Merle is still sweet and well-handled.

Ziv Wities

Solidly enjoyable, but relatively bloodless after the fantastic earlier two, The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely. Those two felt so rich and visceral and had such great supporting cast. This book follows a gold coin around town and has a fairly typical "private investigator suspected for the murders he encounters while investigating" thing going on, which doesn't really go anywhere interesting - I don't know, I just didn't find it as gripping, nor as gritty.


I love Raymond Chandler. And Marlowe, the joke cracking private eye who's tough on the outside and golden on the inside and who would be cliched except he's the original everyone else's vintage noir, hard-boiled action, the world without frills, a trail of murders and blackmail and robbery. It's flawed the way America's underbelly is flawed but it's always clear where Marlowe's sympathies lie...with the poor, the lost, the wicked, the desperate doing all they can to get out of poverty's trap. But he takes everyone as he finds them and gives them their due. It's a fast-paced quick read with suspenseful twists and turns that spin you through an L.A. that is still recognizable, and definitely the L.A. that I love.

Nancy Oakes

At book three in this series it's getting harder to come up with new things to say about Chandler's Marlowe novels. Yes, I could offer up some of Chandler's clever similes or metaphors which change with each book, but I'm not going to do that. These novels are, in a word, excellent. Whether you read them for the writing, the often-cumbersome plots or the unforgettable characters, especially that of Philip Marlowe, considering that they were written around 70 years ago, the high quality of these books has remained steady so far. If you want to know about plot,I'm not bringing it out here; you can see what the book's about elsewhere. Aside from Chandler's witty metaphors, very cool prose and his take on the sprawl that is Los Angeles (which I am absolutely fascinated by, probably more than anything else in these books) what I am beginning to appreciate more about these novels is in the way Chandler explores people. Getting to the whodunit and most especially the why is really a vehicle for exploring individual psyches, especially Marlowe's. He becomes much more of a damsel-in-distress rescuer in this book, and continues his moral duty of keeping his client shielded from any possible fallout, even though it might mean that he soils his integrity in the bargain. He continues to hold onto his principled self -- his twenty-five dollars a day plus expenses is all he wants -- he can't be bought off, despite the expectations of clients and crooks alike. He works hard to get not only to the truth, but also to the heart of just what it is about people that makes them tick. But it's not just Marlowe -- pretty much anyone who takes any role in Marlowe's investigations gets even the tiniest bit of psychological air time from his or her creator. It's these individual stories when combined that showcase the people who exist in Marlowe's city; his interactions with these people who help to define who Marlowe is. And isn't. The High Window didn't feel as clunky or convoluted plotwise as its predecessors -- I am having so much fun with these novels and this one did not disappoint.


Had an overwhelming craving for a dose of Chandler's sordid urban poetry and opted for this, one of his novels that I've read only once. Promptly proceeded to devour it within the course of 36 hours. Usually not considered one of the highlights of Chandler's compact oeuvre, about halfway through it struck me how difficult it is to distinguish between "great" Chandler and the "merely good," as this is really terrific stuff.But after finishing it became clear again why this isn't one of Chandler's finest moments: after a rip-roaring first half, it quickly and inexplicably goes very flat in the second. Less terse verbal shoot-outs between Marlowe and his jowly, draconian client Mrs. Murdoch, and less witty dealings with the quintessentially Chandler-esque mélange of colorful, perfectly delineated support characters. In their place are looooong explanatory chapters, typically with representatives of the law, which seem to drag on endlessly. Chandler himself chalked up to his disappointment with the novel to it having "no likable characters,"* which does become a problem upon the conclusion when (for me, at least), I couldn't muster up much interest who ended up being the good guys and who the bad. But even if The High Window ultimately doesn't reach the heights of Chandler's best work, the fact remains that second-tier Chandler is still better than most. *Quoted in Creatures of Darkness: Raymond Chandler, Detective Fiction, and Film Noir


"The wind was quiet out here and the valley moonlight was so sharp that the black shadows looked as if they had been cut with an engraving tool."Marlowe is tasked with tracking down and acquiring a stolen rare coin dubbed the Brasher Doubloon. Its owner, Mrs. Murdock, believes that her recently estranged daughter-in-law is the culprit. Unfortunately for Marlowe, there’s rarely ever an open and shut case and it isn’t long before he’s tied up in a web of deceit and murder.I’m beginning to feel like there’s no such thing as a bad Marlowe story. While The High Window isn’t as quotable as The Big Sleep or Farewell, My Lovely, the case is just as interesting and the twists and turns in the story had me guessing right up to the end. It also doesn't hurt that the majority of the supporting cast are deplorable, shameless characters and while their actions affect others in ways they may not have intended, when they’re shown the error of their ways, they couldn't give a damn.One of the things I really enjoyed was Marlowe’s insistence that several of the folks he comes across ooze noir stereotypes (the sexy femme fatale, the tough talking club owner complete with big bodyguard). It’s one thing to write these characters but it’s another thing to call attention to it; almost like breaking the fourth wall so to speak.As many have pointed out, it’s not really because of the plot that you’re picking up a Chandler novel and I’m beginning to see why. Chandler writes Marlowe with such bravado, it’s like Marlowe thinks everyone is either constantly bluffing or just plain full of shit. He’s seemingly always a step ahead and he’s got more lines than a coke dealer.The High Window has a satisfying conclusion and once again reinforces why Chandler is considered a master of the crime fiction genre. Onward to book four!Also posted @ Every Read Thing


It has been many years since I read any of Raymond Chandler's Marlowe novels, but seeing The Brasher Doubloon (1947) over the weekend made me want to re-read the novel on which it was based. It was good to see Marlowe again, working for another high suspect and dysfunctional rich family (as in The Big Sleep). There is a family secretary named Merle Davis, who is afraid of being touched and who believes that, years before, she had murdered her employer's husband. There are also the usual collection of crooked nightclub owners, cheap blackmailers, blowsy blondes, inept shamuses, tough homicide cops, and others. Through it all, Marlowe moves like a canny knight-errant, never quite lapsing into intimacy with the strangely cute Merle, but thinking about it nonetheless. Marlowe doesn't like to let himself get bedded by the lovely ladies, partly because he doesn't quite trust them with their revolvers secreted in their purses. This is not one of the better Chandler novels: I think The Big Sleep and The Long Good-Bye are much better. But even relatively bad Chandler, such as Playback, is worth reading. Even though Marlowe lacks a few millimeters of being believable, he appeals to our better instincts -- and he is as smart as a whip.


Raymond Chandler ought to be required reading in high school English classes instead of Hemingway or Twain, who are both beyond boring. Is there a rule against American Literature selections being hip and fun?His power lies in use of simple words, packed with meaning. Authors today blather on while he is able to convey so much in six words: "She had eyes like strange sins." I feel bombarded with shit reading contemporary authors after reading Chandler.Today's writers have also forgotten how to write with all the senses -- sound, smell, touch, taste, not just sight. Here's a piece of Chandler brilliance to illustrate: "The 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-story and basement garage that made a noise like lion cages at feeding time." Can't you hear the car engines growl, metal clank and doors slam in an unnatural, yet perfectly natural rhythm? Another one: he used the dry, screeching crow of a rooster to describe a decrepit, old man's laugh.The story was convoluted and packed with characters for 2014, but the characters, settings, dialogue, prose so vivid. Who cares about the plotline anyway -- this is about those characters, settings, dialogue, and prose! HIGH ART.Loved the ending with Marlowe back home alone with his house clothes, drink, and chess board, running through another "Capablanca" -- yeah, I looked it up. Capablanca was a world-famous chess champion in the 1920s known particularly for his strong endgame. Ha!

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