Chandler/Not Chandler

I read Poodle Springs not too long ago which is the “final” Philip Marlowe novel by Raymond Chandler. Really, it is the notes for a novel fleshed out by another author after Chandler’s death. It wasn’t as bad as the attempt to complete the unfinished Lord Peter novel, but it certainly wasn’t Chandler. There were flashes of Chandler’s prose in the book, but most of the time it was flat and there were definite sections that did not read like him. I’ve read nothing else by Robert Parker, and nothing in Poodle Springs inclined me to seek out his other work. Devotees of the mystery genre or fans of Marlowe will read this book regardless, I’m sure, but it can be skipped by anyone else.

It reminded me a bit also of Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon, but that at least had the virtue of being entirely the work of the original author even if large portions of it dealt with the relationship between the detective and his new wife. In this case the relationship between Marlowe and his wife also occupied a good deal of the book, but it lacked the smooth seamlessness that Busman’s Honeymoon had in weaving the characters together in a new and different relationship.

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