Collected Stories

Collected Stories

5.0 1
by Raymond Chandler

The only complete edition of stories by the undisputed master of detective literature, collected here for the first time in one volume, including some stories that have been unavailable for decades.

When Raymond Chandler turned to writing at the age of forty-five, he began by publishing stories in pulp magazines such as “Black Mask” before later


The only complete edition of stories by the undisputed master of detective literature, collected here for the first time in one volume, including some stories that have been unavailable for decades.

When Raymond Chandler turned to writing at the age of forty-five, he began by publishing stories in pulp magazines such as “Black Mask” before later writing his famous novels. These stories are where Chandler honed his art and developed his uniquely vivid underworld, peopled with good cops and bad cops, informers and extortionists, lethally predatory blondes and redheads, and crime, sex, gambling, and alcohol in abundance. In addition to his classic hard-boiled stories–in which his signature atmosphere of depravity and violence swirls around the cool, intuitive loners whose type culminated in the famous detective Philip Marlowe–Chandler also turned his hand to fantasy and even a gothic romance.

This rich treasury of twenty-five stories shows Chandler developing the terse, laconic, understated style that would serve him so well in his later masterpieces, and immerses the reader in the richly realized fictional universe that has become an enduring part of our literary landscape

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Raymond Chandler is a master.” –New York Times

“Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence.” –Ross Macdonald

“Raymond Chandler invented a new way of talking about America, and America has never looked the same to us since.” –Paul Auster

“The prose rises to heights of unself-conscious eloquence, and we realize with a jolt of excitement that we are in the presence of not a mere action-tale teller, but a stylist, a writer with a vision…The reader is captivated by Chandler’s seductive prose.” –Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books

“Chandler is one of my favorite writers. His books bear rereading every few years. The novels are a perfect snapshot of an American past, and yet the ruined romanticism of the voice is as fresh as if they were written yesterday.” –Jonathan Lethem

“Chandler seems to have invented our post-war dream lives–the tough but tender hero, the dangerous blonde, the rain-washed sidewalks, and the roar of the traffic (and the ocean) in the distance…Chandler is the classic lonely romantic outsider for our times, and American literature, as well as English, would be the poorer for his absence.” –Pico Iyer

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." Sure, those lines are the opener for "Red Wind," a little yarn about a couple of boys getting bumped off kind of rough. But you could be eyeballing "Trouble is My Busi-ness," "Pickup on Noon Street" or any other dark gem pick-axed from the underworld of L.A., a town as edgy as a rummy in a lockjaw ward. Hand it to Chandler--Marlowe, Dalmas, all those sourpussed coppers, they get under your skin. You crack wise.

You size things up differently, like nothing is on the square. Especially dames. You get an itch to know things, things you didn't even know you didn't know, see, because some of the stories in this book have been out of print for 40 years, forgotten like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich under a sofa cushion. So take a load off, pull out the office bottle and turn a few pages. You won't look up again until your peepers feel like you gave them sandpaper eyedrops. Anyway, unless a blonde shows up, the way blondes do, sporting a black cocktail dress and a cute little .25 automatic to match.
—John Glassie

Library Journal
It was a big year for Chandler: not only did Knopf release his full canon in this hardcover trio, which includes some long-out-of-print stories, but Vintage also released a new set of paperbacks (LJ 7/02) of all his books. (LJ 9/15/02) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This definitive omnibus of Chandler’s short fiction, prefaced by John Bayley’s suavely general, very English introduction, makes previous collections look downright niggardly. In addition to the eight stories of Killer in the Rain (1964), which Chandler "cannibalized" (his term) for The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, and The Lady in the Lake, and the 13 non-cannibalized stories in the Library of America Stories and Early Novels (1995), it includes "The Pencil"—Chandler’s last story, and practically the only one that stars Philip Marlowe and not some earlier version of the peerless shamus like Mallory, Ted Carmady, or John Dalmas—and three never-before-reprinted tales. It’s easy to see why "The Bronze Door" (1939), "Professor Bingo’s Snuff" (1951), and "English Summer" (1974) have sunk into obscurity, since all three are atypical—the first a supernaturally-tinged fable of alternative lives, the second an equally paranormal account of a cuckold who takes advantage of an invisibility potion to take control, the third a romantic idyll that ends in murder—though all are full of characteristically male dreamers and female schemers. Fans inadvisedly imbibing the rest of the collection nonstop will see Chandler’s rapid evolution from the violent fumblings of "Blackmailers Don’t Shoot" to the pulp formula mastery of "Goldfish" to the matchless urban poetry of "Red Wind" and "I’ll Be Waiting."

Chandler thought of himself as a novelist who also wrote short fiction, and this collection won’t change that verdict. But having all 25 of the world’s greatest pulp writer’s checkered, indispensable stories available in a single volume is a pleasure long overdue.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 8.27(h) x 2.36(d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888 - 1959) was the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction. Although he was born in Chicago, Chandler spent most of his boyhood and youth in England where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a freelance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Spectator. During World War I, Chandler served in France with the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, transferring later to the Royal Flying Corps (R. A. F.). In 1919 he returned to the United States, settling in California, where he eventually became director of a number of independent oil companies. The Depression put an end to his career, and in 1933, at the age of forty-five, he turned to writing fiction, publishing his first stories in Black Mask. Chandler’s detective stories often starred the brash but honorable Philip Marlowe (introduced in 1939 in his first novel, The Big Sleep) and were noted for their literate presentation and dead-on critical eye. Never a prolific writer, Chandler published only one collection of stories and seven novels in his lifetime. Some of Chandler’s novels, like The Big Sleep, were made into classic movies which helped define the film noir style. In the last year of his life he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died in La Jolla, California on March 26, 1959.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 23, 1888
Date of Death:
March 26, 1959
Place of Birth:
Chicago Illinois
Place of Death:
La Jolla, California
Educated in England, France, and Germany

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Collected Stories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
funbooks2read More than 1 year ago
Excellent quality, a beautiful book! Of course Chandler was the greatest writer ever, we all know that, that's why we bought the book. The description fails to mention that this edition is of exceptional quality. The picture you see is a dust jacket, very nice in itself. The book is a hardback covered in red fabric, with a gold embossed spine! And there's even a gold ribbon bookmark so we will never lose our place while reading these wonderful stories by the best writer ever! I consider this book to be heirloom quality, both for the book itself and for the memorable, moving stories contained therein. An absolute MUST for all fans of Raymond Chandler.