Raymond Chandler's "The Long Goodbye" is the One Book, One Chicago pick for Spring 2008. I have really enjoyed the One Book program. I don't always read the selection but I already owned this book and had been meaning to pick it up. The One Book program spurred me on to read.
Wow - what can I say? This is my first Chandler book and I'll be back for more. Chandler has a loose connection to Chicago since he was born here. His writing, though, features Los Angeles in its romantic glory with private country clubs, big cars, mobsters and a society that seems to drink all the time. Philip Marlowe has a sense of humor and many times I laughed out loud while reading the book. He's quick. He and Sam Spade would be friends.
"The Long Goodbye" is a series of double crosses. The bad guy is not always who you first suspect because.....(a spoiler here).....the bad guy may not be a guy at all. People need help and Marlowe helps them. The two men he aids in this story end up causing him more trouble than he needs or wants but he can't ignore their conditions.
The Music Box in Chicago was running Chandler movies during March and last week I saw "The Big Sleep". Very similar and now will Humphrey Bogart always be Philip Marlowe in my mind? Maybe. The Chandler plot lines have aged very well and show that a smart detective story can be just as engaging as a big budget action movie.