Famous for writing Farewell My Lovely, The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, the American crime Novelist and screenwriter Raymond Thornton Chandler, sadly passed away March 26, 1959 in La Jolla, California. Born July 23, 1888 in Chicago Illinois, He became a detective fiction writer in 1932 at the age of 44 after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot”, was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been made into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America.
Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett’s Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with “private detective,” both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe. Some of Chandler’s novels are considered to be important literary works, and three are often considered to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as “arguably the first book since Hammett’s The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery. mMany of his novels have also been adapted for film and Television including The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely, many starring Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum as hard-bitten detective Philip Marlowe.