Chandler, Raymond Thornton

Chandler, Raymond Thornton

Chandler, Raymond Thornton, 1888-1959, American author, b. Chicago, educated in England. After World War I, he entered the oil business in California. Bankrupt during the Depression, he published his first of many detective stories in The Black Mask magazine (1933). His novels include The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), and Playback (1958). Well plotted and brutally realistic, Chandler's novels depict the seedy lowlife of Los Angeles. They all feature Philip Marlowe, a hard-boiled yet honorable private detective with a brash sense of humor who became the prototype for the tough guy private eye of many subsequent American detective novels. Chandler also wrote screenplays and essays.

See his collected early works, ed. by M. J. Bruccoli, Chandler before Marlowe (2d ed. 1973); Stories and Early Novels (1995) and Later Novels and Other Writings (1995), both ed. by F. MacShane; his letters, ed. by F. MacShane (1981), The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Nonfiction, 1909-1959 (2001), ed. by T. Hiney and F. MacShane; biographies by F. MacShane (1976, repr. 1986) and T. Hiney (1997); studies by J. Speir (1981) and W. Marling (1986).

(born July 23, 1888, Chicago, Ill., U.S.—died March 26, 1959, La Jolla, Calif.) U.S. writer of detective fiction. Chandler worked as an oil-company executive in California before turning to writing during the Great Depression. Early short stories were followed by screenplays, including Double Indemnity (1944), The Blue Dahlia (1946), and Strangers on a Train (1951). His character Philip Marlowe, a hard-boiled private detective working in the Los Angeles underworld, appears in all seven of his novels, including The Big Sleep (1939; film, 1946 and 1978), Farewell, My Lovely (1940; film Murder, My Sweet, 1944, and Farewell, My Lovely, 1975), and The Long Good-Bye (1953; film, 1973). Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are regarded as the classic authors of the hard-boiled genre.

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Chandler is a surname, derived from the profession. A chandler is someone who makes or sells candles and/or soap.

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