Penzler Pick, January 2000: Originally published a decade ago and now expanded, this book is a homage to the greatest detective story writer of the 20th century, an Anglo-American who took Los Angeles, his adopted home, off the road maps and into the land of legend. For Raymond Chandler, who died in 1959, his literary descendants will do just about anything, and that includes contributing to an anthology honoring him. Thus, in here we find the likes of Sara Paretsky, Robert Crais, Loren D. Estleman, Jonathan Valin, Robert Campbell, Eric Van Lustbader, Simon Brett, Julie Smith, Jeremiah Healy, Roger L. Simon, James Grady, and numerous others creating stories in the style of Chandler and in the voice of Marlowe. But, as editor Byron Preiss remarks, "The contributors of this book are here to honor Chandler, not to steal from him."
He also says, "Many would not be the writers they are had not Chandler followed Hammett and Cain down the back alley of fiction into the realm of art." That's certainly a succinctly expressive summation. Moreover, today the idea of the "mean streets" that Chandler wished the best heroes to traverse is one that has, perhaps more than ever before, seized the imagination of the public when it comes to popular entertainment. What's old is new again, as they say, and in this case that means noir.
In an introduction by Robert B. Parker--who himself finished the incomplete Chandler novel Poodle Springs (1990)--we learn the essentials of Chandler's life (the British public school education, the wife who was 18 years older than he, etc.). But in the stories essayed here we get the effects of an imagined world that has become an entire universe.
Among the many included are tales of the Thelma Todd murder scandal by Max Allan Collins; of Dr. Seuss's missing watercolors by Robert L. Simon; of a pro wrestler called The Crusher by Jonathan Valin; and of the ancient jeweled skull that was the inspiration for Hammett's Maltese Falcon by Dick Lochte.
Two new stories, not in the earlier edition of this volume, are by Simon, creator of Moses Wine, and J. Madison Davis, the author of Red Knight and White Rook and president of the North American Association of International Crime Writers.
Finally, there is an afterword by Chandler scholar and biographer Frank McShane. And, yes, the real Raymond Chandler is here too, represented by the story "The Pencil," in which that particular writing instrument turns out to be one gift you never want to receive. This book is not quite the real thing; it can't be. But it's as close as you could hope to find. --Otto Penzler
From Library Journal
Philip Marlowe is arguably the most popular and influential character in American hard-boiled detective fiction. There is a little bit of the wise-cracking, incorruptible Marlowe in just about every detective that followed since he made his debut in Chandler's The Big Sleep in 1939. To commemorate Chandler's 1988 centenary, 25 of today's top mystery writers, e.g., Max Allan Collins, Sara Paretsky, and Loren Estleman, offer their take on Marlowe. The collection is nicely capped with Chandler's own last Marlowe story, "The Pencil." Marlowe's popularity has waned very little, so this should circulate well.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is not even the correct book. There is nothing here that has anything to do with Raymond Chandler. I informed my local Barnes and noble three weeks ago and nothing has changed. I hope someone is going to publish this review and and straighten this out.
This isn't correct - I ordered Preiss's book on Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe - I received 'Stories from Atlantis', by Silverberg. Please fix your link, and - AND put the correct book in MyNook. Thanks. PS: Otherwise, B&N is doing a mighty fine job!
A short story collection of Philip Marlowe pastiches. As you might expect, they are of uneven quality and even the one story by Raymond Chandler isn¿t one of his best. The stories are arranged by the years in which they are supposed to occur from the 30s to the 50s. One of the better stories is, in fact, the first one from 1935, ¿The Perfect Crime,¿ by Max Allan Collins based on the death of actress Thelma Todd. It is easy to parody the Chandler stories and more than a few of them come off as over-ripe but it is an interesting collection and worth reading.