Monday, February 19, 2024

Mystery Monday: Raymond Chandler

Mystery Monday: Raymond Chandler

Courtesy Britannica
I am always amazed when I read about authors from the past who turned to writing to earn a living during difficult circumstances. Grace Livingston Hill is one of those authors, and Raymond Chandler is another. As a way to immerse myself in the world of my characters, I read books they might have read. The “hard-boiled detective novel” was a popular choice during the 1940s, and Raymond Chandler published quite a few.

According to several sources, Chandler decided to become a writer after he lost his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. Another source indicated he was fired for his alcoholism, absenteeism, and “promiscuity with female employees.” Fortunately, he seemed to find success with his stories almost immediately. But he’d done his homework by teaching himself how to write in the manner of pulp fiction authors by studying and imitating Erle Stanley Gardner’s work (most famously his Perry Mason stories). Chandler’s first money-making story was “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot” published in Black Mask magazine in 1933.

By the mid-1930s, he began working on novels in addition to his short stories. Published in 1939, The
Big Sleep
, featured detective Philip Marlowe and was an almost instant best-seller. The second Marlowe book, Farewell, My Lovely, was published the following year and became the basis for three different movie versions. This led to a successful screenplay career in addition to his novels. Marlowe was his most famous character, and he went on to write seven of them.

Enamored with California (where he set most of his books), Chandler and his wife moved to La Jolla in 1946. Sadly, he lost his wife to illness in 1954 which exacerbated Chandler’s drinking and his depression. His writing suffered, and he traveled to England, but the trip didn’t seem to do much for him. He returned to La Jolla where he passed away in 1959. In 1988, on the hundredth anniversary of Chandler’s birth, Author Robert B. Parker completed Chandler’s unfinished manuscript Poodle Springs. The book was published in October 1989.


Dial V for Valentine

Valentine’s Day is perfect for a wedding. If only the bride will agree.

Being part of the military is not just a job for Fergus Rafferty, it’s a calling. He’s worked his way up the ranks and doing what he loves best: flying Apache helicopters. The only thing that will make his life complete is marrying Celeste. After he transfers to a unit scheduled to deploy in three months, he’s thrilled at the idea of marrying before he leaves so they can start their new life. Except Celeste wants to wait until he returns. Can he convince her to wed before he leaves?

Celeste Hardwicke has just opened her law practice when she finally accepts Fergus’s marriage proposal. Not to worry. She has plenty of time to set a date, then plan the wedding. Until she doesn’t. But a quickie wedding isn’t what she has in mind. Besides, why get married when the groom will ship out after the ceremony? When she stumbles on her great-grandmother’s diary from World War II, she discovers the two of them share the same predicament.

At an impasse, Celeste and Fergus agree to call into WDES’s program No Errin’ for Love. Will DJ Erin Orberg’s advice solve their dilemma or create a bigger divide? One they’ll both regret.

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