A quick nap

Nottingham Evening Post, "Classic of the Week", October 16 2004

The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler, Penguin, £6.99

This was Raymond Chandler's first detective novel. It introduces Philip Marlowe, the good man on the mean streets. More importantly, it introduces Marlowe's voice: hard-boiled, wise-cracking and full of concealed poetry. A rich old general dying in an orchid-house sets both on the trail of a missing man; but the general's corrupt daughters, and the vicious city around them, have more interesting ideas.

No, Chandler didn't invent modern crime fiction. That was Dashiell Hammett; Chandler merely made it memorable. And yes, the plot is a tangle. But once you've entered this delicious fog, we guarantee you won't want to come out.