Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Lady in the Lake

The Lady in the Lake (Philip Marlowe, #4)The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A rich man hires Phillip Marlowe to find his wife. The trail leads to a resort town and another dead woman. Where is Crystal Kingsley? And who killed Muriel Chess? And what did Chris Lavery or Dr. Almore have to do with it?

The Lady in the Lake is a tale of lies, double crosses, cheating woman, murder, and a shop-soiled Galahad named Phillip Marlowe caught in the middle of it. Chander and Marlowe set the standards for slick-talking detectives for generations to come and Marlowe is in fine form in this outing, following the serpentine twists of the plot as best he can. Chandler's similes are in fine form, as is Marlowe's banter.

Since Raymond Chandler is my favorite of the noir pioneers, I feel guilty for saying this but this thing is so convoluted I stopped caring about the plot about a third of the way in and just stuck around for the Scotch-smooth prose. Seriously, this has to be the most convoluted plot from the master of overly convoluted plots. I had an idea of the connection between the two women but it took forever for everything to come together. Marlowe couldn't be blamed for not cracking the case early on since it read like Raymond Chandler was making it up as he went in between weekend-long benders.

To sum it up, the prose is up to par but the plot is a meandering mess. It's barely a 3 and my least favorite Chandler book I've read so far.

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