'One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards that others still try to attain.' Sunday Times Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and moved to England with his family when he was twelve. He attended Dulwich College, Alma Mater to some of the twentieth century's most renowned writers. Returning to America in 1912, he settled in California, worked in a number of jobs, and later married. It was during the Depression era that he seriously turned his hand to writing and his first published story appeared in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1933, followed six years later by his first novel. The Big Sleep introduced the world to Philip Marlowe, the often imitated but never-bettered hard-boiled private investigator.
A full cast tackles this radio adaptation of Chandler's 1942 detective novel, which was the third mystery featuring his signature PI, Philip Marlowe. Grouchy, old, stinking-rich widow Elizabeth Murdoch hires Marlowe to recover a rare coin she insists was stolen by her son Leslie's floozy wife. Things are never what they seem, though. Marlowe soon discovers that Leslie is up to his eyebrows in gambling debts to underworld nasties, and it's not long before Marlowe is tripping over corpses at every turn. Although the sound is a bit tinny at times, the cast, featuring Toby Stephens as Marlowe, and the effects technicians do a fine job with breathing new life in this vintage mystery. A core allure of PI fiction is the snappy dialog, and nobody does it better than Chandler. VERDICT Fans of Chandler and old-time detective stories and radio dramas will enjoy this adaptation. The roughly 90-minute running time makes it doable in a single sitting.-Mike -Rogers, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.