“Yet the darkest of Chandler now appears clean-cut. Chandler evoked the spirit of noir through mood-setting and language, not cheap graphic gore. Now work that is hailed as ‘dark’ often seems close to putrid, almost unreadable…”
– Mick Hume, ‘Watching the Detectives’.
Raymond Chandler was one of the pulp fiction – mass produced detective stories- writers and scriptwriters in the 40-50s. His novels became the base for film noirs such as The Big Sleep, Strangers on a Train and Double Idemnity.
Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, was written in three months and broke away from the previous detective novels at the time; it can be described as ‘unconventional’. It reflects the Great Depression that took place in America in the 1930s and it features the typical hard-boiled character Philip Marlowe. After the success of The Big Sleep, Philip Marlowe was also featured in Chandler’s following novels, such as Murder, My Sweet and Farewell My Lovely. While he is not afraid to risk physical harm, he does not dish out violence merely to settle scores. “Morally upright, he is not fooled by the genre’s usual femmes fatale, such as Carmen Sternwood in The Big Sleep.”