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ISBN: 8402050417
ISBN 13: 9788402050410
By: Raymond Chandler

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Classics Crime Currently Reading Detective Fiction Hard Boiled Mysteries Mystery Noir To Read

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

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.

Jesse

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

Steffan

Having read a lot of Raymond Chandler through the years and now, finally going back and re-reading everything with a more widened perspective on the genre, The High Window easily stands out as his finest work.The High Window, unlike a lot of genre Private Detective stories, which so many other authors have spent lifetimes struggling to copy and coming up short, keeps you guessing until the very end. Some authors give you a nibble about half way through a story and it falls apart in your lap and you figure it out. The High Window defies that solidly. You will be guessing about this one until the very end. Nothing is done ham-handedly or over-quick just to wrap it up either. This book could serve as a role model to other authors about how to write an ending, as I'm sure it has -- even if you don't write Detective Noir fiction.If you're reading this review and a certain Humphrey Bogart film brought you here, and you don't know much about Raymond Chandler, just know that he was and is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. During his lifetime however he was dismissed as just a regular struggling hack novelist, because of the Genre, and not given a lot of attention. A lot of other authors, like Philip K. Dick for instance, another Angelino, suffered greatly under this prejudice during their lifetime because of supposed conventionalities. Sometimes, looking back you just have to wonder if it really was a West Coast prejudice, where anything outside of the New York circle of authors was thought worthless, or the critics just didn't have enough insight into life. Probably both.The High Window moves very quickly, very smoothly, never misses a beat or falls flat for a single page. Chandler did drink a lot and it sometimes shows in his other novels, but with this effort you can see a lot of genius, planning and careful, methodic work ... just like the protagonist Philip Marlowe working a case.The dialogue is as witty as Farewell, My Lovely and the wisecracks are even sharper than The Big Sleep. This book is also absent of the one problem that I have Chandler and that is his disconnection of information from novel to novel. Some of his stories never mention a single word about anyone or anything from his other books, however, in The High Window, I underlined five direct references to his other works. These are nice touches and just things I like, because it's like going to a friends house and being able to recognize the furniture. The Little Sister does a better job with bringing out a familiar cadre of Policemen, but this book is where it's out.The main thought regarding the story though is all about protection of the client and their anonymity. Marlowe knows that if he has to turn over and talk, he's pretty much out of a job. This is a story about just that. While he takes on only one paid client, it feels as if he makes an exercise in proving that his word is his bond.There's a few youtube links in the comments regarding some documentary footage concerning Chandler as well a Chandler interview with James Bond author Ian Fleming, where Chandler states that he believes himself to be one of the greatest living American writers -- and Fleming agrees. Fantastic stuff....4 part Interview with Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj6cc0...3 part Raymond Chandler Documentary on Crime, Los Angeles and his writing.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIbFzc......

Ilona

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!

Gabriel

Chandler believed, first, that he "chose" to be a writer as some people "choose" to be a waiter or a janitor, second, that he "became" a writer by studying "Black Mask" and the other pulps and simply imitating them (more on that below), and third, that the results were not make-work as they should have been, but serious literature, on a par with Hammett if not one better. Chandler spent a boozy couple of years tearing the stories in the pulps (which he always maintained a healthy disdain for in his correspondence) to pieces and then attempting to put them together again. He wrote out summaries of what went on in the story and then rewrote the story from the summary, in his own words. Sometimes, the results were good. Sometimes, the results were not good. Good or bad, they never seemed to make much sense, though-- the stories had lost the glue that was holding them together, somehow, as though it weren't what happened that was important, but how it was told. All of this carries through to the work that Chandler would call his own.Even though he was working with structure and planning, the elements of plot, Chander clearly learned nothing about either. He definitely learned from his mistakes-- it wasn't the plot that mattered: he could lose the plot without letting the novel get out of hand. Character and language were the lynchpins; not only enough, but more than enough, to get him through the rough patches where the plot got away from him. This is the lesson of the creative writing workshop-- to let the plot get away from you, to let the story "write itself." Chandler evidently had not read much Poe, and was on record as hating Agatha Christie. Chandler's novels are cannibalizations (his own word) of short stories he was working on during that long apprenticeship. Somehow, he never subsequently came up with a new plot. He found he didn't need to, just so long as he kept shuffling his little deck over and over again. Different parts of the same story wind up in The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, for instance. There are certain similarities in and The Lady in the Lake, enough to make you wonder if you aren't reading the same book again. The High Window steals from its immediate predecessor, Farewell, My Lovely, but that is as much to say that it steals from The Big Sleep, and to say it bears certain similarities to . They were all written in the same four-year period, and it shows. All that said, The High Window and the novel that followed it, The Lady in the Lake, are the strongest of the bunch, plot-wise. There is a sense of purpose in the structure that is definitely lacking in the other novels. They read much more like traditional mysteries for that reason, and this might account for the fact that Chandler fans usually rate the other novels higher. Nobody hipped to Chandler reads the guy for his plots-- to do so is to invite boredom or frustration. So when it becomes the focus of the novel, the novel suffers. This one suffered.

David

I'm not certain anybody does the typical hard-boiled private eye better than Raymond Chandler. Marlowe is clever, witty, snippy, and persistent. He continues to stumble over dead bodies, damsels in distress, and tough criminal types. He inserts his nose firmly into a high society family's business and refuse to butt out. This time around there is some funny business with a rare coin and Marlowe trods along until he sees it resolved. I think that there are better mysteries out there, but I believe Marlowe sets the standard for the brainy private eye. What makes these novels fun for me is the cultural stuff--everybody smokes for example. Men and women both wear hats. One car has a starter "button." the radio playing a time delayed broadcast of a Dodger baseball game in Los Angeles because the boys in blue are still in Brooklyn. A cool and real feel for the period is unfeigned because it was written during that period.This was fun to read, but I won't go out of my way for this author. Good, pulpy, private eye fiction.

Dfordoom

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.

Julie Hayes

Marlowe goes to Pasadena to meet a client about a job. First he has to get past the secretary. Miss Davis is a rather meek soul, who asks for his references, and once they check out, she takes him to see the client—Mrs. Elizabeth Murdock. Mrs. Murdock is a large, hard woman with an unpleasant attitude, one that isn’t above haggling Marlowe about what his expenses consist of. The situation is this—something of value has been stolen from her, and she suspects the culprit to be her daughter-in-law, the item in question being a very rare and valuable coin known as a Brasher Doubloon.Mrs. Murdock didn’t know the coin was missing until she received a suspicious phone call from a dealer named Morningstar making inquiries as to whether the coin was for sale. The thing is that any reputable dealer would know the coin isn’t for sale, per the stipulations of the late Mr. Murdock’s will. Then she checked and found out the coin was missing. She figures it was an inside job, as those are the only people who would have access to it. Mrs. Murdock wants the coin back, but she doesn’t know where her son’s wife went—plus she wants a divorce arranged. Marlowe agrees to take the case, and is handed back to the secretary to get his retainer—along with a little information, some voluntary, some not so. He learns that Linda Murdock, formerly Linda Conquest, once roomed with another girl named Lois Magic. And he learns that the secretary, Merle, has quite a thing, in her own quiet way, for Mrs. Murdock’s son, which includes keeping his monogrammed handkerchief in a drawer, as well as a small caliber pistol.As Marlowe leaves the Murdock residence, he notices a sand-colored coupe that seems to be following him. But he could be wrong about that.Marlowe returns to his office, and while he’s thinking about the case, he receives a visitor—Mr. Leslie Murdock, the son. He’s trying to find out why Marlowe’s been hired, but the PI is too cagey to divulge that bit of information. Murdock reveals more than he learns—namely, that he still loves his wife, and that he is into a guy named Morny for some big money, maybe twelve grand. Marlowe sends him on his way, and calls up Morningstar, making an appointment to see him at his office at 3 o’clock.He can’t find Lois Magic in the phone book, so he uses a connection to learn what he can about Morny. Turns out he married Lois Magic. Small world indeed. He gets an address and heads over there, but the hired help say she isn’t at home. Well, there’s more than one way to do things, so Marlowe does it his way, and finds out from the chauffeur that Mrs. Morny is indeed at home, in the backyard, along with Mr. Vannier. Marlowe runs into the sand-colored coupe and its driver again, and confronts him. The guy breaks down and admits he’s been following Marlowe. His name is Phillips and he’s also a PI, working a case. Maybe they can work it together, since the cases seem to be related. He makes a time for Marlowe to come over to his place, and just for insurance, he gives him a key, in case he arrives first. Marlowe shows up, but it’s too late for Phillips.And he’s only the first stiff.Fake coins, missing wives, cheating wives, terrified secretaries, and a body count that just won’t quit. All in the job description for Phillip Marlowe.The High Window is the third book in the Philip Marlowe series. I liked it as much as I did the others. Chandler has a way with words that is truly unique, and he paints a vivid picture of the times and the people, drawing memorable characters. I like that Marlowe has layers, and we see more and more of those layers as time goes on. In this story, he’s a real gentleman. We already knew he was honest. The story has all the ingredients of a good mystery—dead bodies, people with secrets, lies, and mysteries. I look forward to reading the next book.

Brandon

"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

Adam

Raymond Chandler's prose style is up there with the greats. It's still hugely influential, incredibly important. None of his books fail to impress on those grounds. It is, of course, real hard to try to write like Raymond Chandler writes and pull it off. There are probably as many woeful Chandler copycats out there as there are woeful Hemingway copycats.The High Window isn't my favourite of the Marlowe books. That's mostly down to the plot, which is just okay, and doesn't really let Marlowe reach his full potential, or for that matter any interesting thematic threads.But just read:“The blond giggled and petted his face with her eyes.”"He had a long nose that would be into things."“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."“A small tongue played roguishly along her lips.”“Her eyes were as hard as the bricks in her front walk.”And now for a masterpiece of descriptive prose:“The lobby looked like a high-budget musical. A lot of light and glitter, a lot of scenery, a lot of clothes, a lot of sound, an all-star cast, and a plot with all the originality and drive of a split fingernail. Under the beautiful soft indirect lighting the walls seemed to go up forever and to be lost in soft lascivious stars that really twinkled. You could just manage to walk on the carpet without waders. At the back was a free-arched stairway with a chromium and white enamel gangway going up in wide shallow carpeted steps. At the entrance to the dining room a chubby captain of waiters stood negligently with a two-inch satin stripe on his pants and a bunch of gold-plated menus under his arm. He had the sort of face that can turn from a polite simper to cold-blooded fury almost without moving a muscle. The bar entrance was to the left. It was dusky and quiet and a bartender moved moth like against the faint glitter of piled glassware. A tall handsome blond in a dress that looked like seawater sifted over with gold dust came out of the Ladies' Room touching up her lips and turned toward the arch, humming. The sound of rumba music came through the archway and she nodded her gold head in time to it, smiling. A short fat man with a red face and glittering eyes waited for her with a white wrap over his arm. He dug his thick fingers into her bare arm and leered up at her. A check girl in peach-bloom Chinese pajamas came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins. A cigarette girl came down the gangway. She wore an egret plume in her hair, enough clothes to hide behind a toothpick, one of her long beautiful naked legs was silver, and one was gold. She had the utterly disdainful expression of a dame who makes her dates by long distance. I went into the bar and sank into a leather bar seat packed with down. Glasses tinkled gently, lights glowed softly, there were quiet voices whispering of love, or ten per cent, or whatever they whisper about in a place like that. A tall fine-looking man in a gray suit cut by an angel suddenly stood up from a small table by the wall and walked over to the bar and started to curse one of the barmen. He cursed him in a loud clear voice for a long minute, calling him about nine names that are not usually mentioned by tall fine-looking men in well cut gray suits. Everybody stopped talking and looked at him quietly. His voice cut through the muted rumba music like a shovel through snow. The barman stood perfectly still, looking at the man. The barman had curly hair and a clear warm skin and wide-set careful eyes. He didn’t move or speak. The tall man stopped talking and stalked out of the bar. Everybody watched him out except the barman. The barman moved slowly along the bar to the end where I sat and stood looking away from me, with nothing in his face but pallor."

Joe Barlow

"I opened the screen and stepped out on to the porch. The night was all around, soft and quiet. The white moonlight was cold and clear, like the justice we dream of but don't find." --Raymond Chandler, "The High Window"Now that's more like it! Philip Marlowe is back in top form with this third entry in Chandler's celebrated mystery series. The mood is lighter than it was in "Farewell, My Lovely," with Marlowe tossing off his trademark witticisms and leers in roughly equal proportion, instead of that book's constant sulking. Chandler, as always, writes like a demigod, weaving a captivating tale of blackmail and a priceless stolen coin, both of which are tangled up with a long-ago murder. It's a ghost that won't lie still.Less confusing than "The Big Sleep," but less hopeless than "Farewell, My Lovely," "The High Window" is a terrific read. It ends on a surprising note of optimism, as one woman gets a second chance at happiness, thanks to Marlowe's actions. I plowed through it in no time, and couldn't get enough.

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!

Keely

I once read in a mystery readers' newsletter that one invariably favors either Chandler or Hammett, and that the minute difference in character between the two preferences is an unbridgeable gap. I started with Hammett, and expected much more than I got. It was brusque and brooding, but its brusqueness lacked refinement: it was not laconic but merely truncated.The brooding lacked the sardonic wryness which I had come to associate with crime fiction, and which I now find to be the flourished signature of Chandler, with his abstracted yet fitting metaphors. Chandler also misses the mark when it comes to laconic elegance, leaning more to the luridly painted scene.Both have that slow-burn plot that is only saved by the aid of an insider (and coincidentally, the delivery of a small box containing the macguffin). Hence, I wouldn't call the plotting tight, exactly, as it hinges on a kind of authorial intervention to keep it moving; but it does move.In the end, Chandler could have used a bit of Hammett's brusqueness, while Hammet could use a lot of Chandler's elegance, if you could call it elegance. The sort of elegance shown by a nondescript thug pulling and firing, killing without wasting a second bullet, and then disappearing into the wave of screaming, trampling patrons, leaving behind only a body amongst the broken glasses, spilled liquor, and ticket stubs. If there could be any elegance in a thing like that.But that newsletter was right. I find myself drawn to Chandler and scorning Hammett. As with most such contests, it all comes down to the commas, in the end. In Chandler, they're a shrug, a wistful moment: a recognition that whatever you're about to say isn't what you wanted to say. In Hammett they're a stutter before a restatement.Both show a recognition of something left unsaid, something sought for but in the end, something not found. That's the legacy of most crime novels: that even when you find what you were looking for, it doesn't change anything, and that need to look is still there.And when a man searches for that thing and fails to find it, I find him more charming if he shrugs instead of stutters.

Fausto

3º caso del detective Philip Marlowe, donde se continúa con las características típicas del género negro desarrolladas en las anteriores entregas: el detective cínico y amargado, la mujer fatal (en este libro son 2), el dinero, el crimen, la policía, la corrupción, suspense e intriga, diálogos brillantes y cortantes, etc.Chandler tiene un gran estilo descriptivo, no tan sólo para los edificios y la fisonomía de los personajes, también para retratar con crudeza la realidad social que le rodea. Un caso, con apariencia simple, de un robo de una moneda antigua, rara y valiosa desencadenará unas tramas de engaño, amores, asesinatos, pasión por el dinero, recuerdos del pasado, y traumas psicológicos.Además de la amena trama, se hace alusión a la afición del ajedrez del detective, que junto con el alcohol son sus vías de escape de una realidad nada atractiva. También hay unas pequeñas referencias a la literatura (como en los anteriores libros): a “Cumbres borrascosas” (Heathcliff, el nombre de un perro), y a “El Quijote”, ya que un personaje denomina al detective como “el caballero de la triste figura”; y, en verdad, tiene un aire quijotesco por su afán de buscar la verdad y su sentido del honor.

Mark

I didn’t like The High Window as much as Chandler’s first two books, but it’s still a pretty good story. Marlowe is hired by a rich Pasadena widow to find a missing rare coin and her son’s wayward young wife. The case quickly leads to a few dead bodies, blackmail, and sordid family secrets. This one dragged for a bit in the middle before things pick up near the end.

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