Posts Tagged ‘Raymond Chandler’

Tony Bulmer takes a look at the ultimate biography on Raymond Chandler

Everyone loves Raymond. Raymond Chandler that is. And nowhere is that love stronger than in the Crimezine community. Chandler epitomizes so many things for crime fans and the crime writing community at large. Trumpet blowing critics the world over have micro-analyzed the reasons for Chandler’s often controversial popularity, and much hooting and sobbing has ensued, because when it comes to Chandler—everyone has an opinion.

Why should this be so? Chandler is more than a writer. It is not just who he is and what he has written that is so important, it is what he represents. There is the glamorous ideal of the iconoclast crime writer, there is his reputation as a booze-addled bad boy and pipe smoking pain in the ass. There is his involvement in the writing of such films as Double-Indemnity, the Blue Dahlia, and the Hitchcockian masterpiece, Strangers on a Train. There is also his fraught and unconventional personal life, and his unassailable position as one of greatest pulp-fiction innovators of all time.

The Tom Hiney book is a classic of its genre. There have been a number of other Chandler bios, but the Hiney book, first released in 1970, is the standard by which all other Chandler tell-alls are measured. Sure there is still a lot we don’t know—can never know—but Hiney does a Marlowesqe detective job filling in the blanks.

Raymond Chandler, A Biography, carries us through the author’s earliest days raised in Chicago, and Nebraska, followed by stints in Ireland and England, where he lived throughout his formative years, before moving back to the United States in his twenties. Many revelations are well documented. The fact he was fifty before he wrote his first book [The Big Sleep] The fact his wife Cissy was twenty years older than him. The fact he was financially responsible for his mother throughout most of his adult life.

Then there is the alcoholism. The full tragedy of which is laid out in some detail. The surprise is Chandler was not always the inveterate boozehound he is painted to be. His problems with drink manifested after he was injured in a frontline explosion during the first world war. Chandler served in a unit of 1200 men. 14,000 men had passed through the unit by the time he got there. A level of service and danger few modern readers will be able to comprehend.

After his service in the first world war, Chandler returned to the States, eventually landing himself a lucrative gig as an Oil company accountant. The job paid $3,500 per month which was a lot of money in the depression era twenties and thirties. Post-traumatic stress, the need to support his wife and mother in two separate households, and the misery of a job to which he was ill-suited to finally caused a booze-addled Chandler to get the sack.

So he quit the booze and started writing. But success didn’t come easy. In the early years he wrote between two and five stories for Black Mask Magazine and later Dime Detective, stories for which he only received a few hundred dollars each. Quite a come down compared to his oil company salary. This lack of success carried over into his novel writing. By 1950 Chandler had sold 3.5 million novels, 68, 000 of them in hard back and earned a mere $56, 000 dollars. Hollywood is what saved him. The acclaimed script he wrote with Billy Wilder for Double Indemnity almost won an Oscar, would have, it hadn’t been for moralistic censure by the catholic church. Instead, Chandler’s work on the script led to a steady gig at Paramount and lucrative work for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock. Chandler received $40,000 for eight weeks work adapting Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train—a sum that almost equaled that of his entire writing career to date.

Hollywood was the catalyst that got Chandler boozing again, and from there the descent was slow and tragic. Hiney lays it all out. For any true fan of Chandler it makes gruesome if essential reading. It’s all here, Crimeziners: An A-Z of the books, a reasoned examination of the man’s life and the various criticisms that stand against him on matters of race, gender etc. Like Hemingway it is popular in post-modern circles to hate on Chandler, but holding a writer born in the 1880s to modern standards—it’s the kind of thing that would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window, isn’t it Crimeziners?

Raymond Chandler A Biography by Tom Hiney. Buy it today.

Tony Bulmer Raymond Chandler, Satre

Satre (left) and Chandler (right) Live in peace with your pipe.

Greetings Crimeziners. It has been all stations go on Mulholland Drive recently, with a veritable plethora of crimetastic goings on washing in from every conceivable angle. There have been so many publishers and Hollyweird cinematographers thrusting their shamelessly crime-filled wares in our direction, we are quite literally soiling our collective pantaloons with excitement.

Firstly, however, we are very sad to report the tragic demise of much favored [and aged] Crimezine relative Harry Paratesties of the New Hampshire Paratesties legal and taxidermic dynasty. Famed for his contribution to spittoon development and his many valuable insights into, “Just what the hell is wrong with the younger generation anyway.” Uncle Harry will be sadly missed.

Any road up, dear Uncle Harry, or “Badger” as he was inexplicably called by all who knew him, bequeathed Crimezine his vellum bound collection of the entire Brad Thor oeuvre, which has led to many leisured and over-sauced mornings by the swimming pool, as Crimezine cocktail wrangler Consuela tops off glasses with generous pourings of delicious imported breakfast cognac.

Still, enough of the travails of life in West Los Angeles and onwards with the very serious and quite startling revelation that Raymond “Raymondo” Chandler, a man who virtually invented the term hardboiled, is a doppelganger double of garlic chomping Frenchie philosopher and existentialist communist nuisance, John Paul Satre. [Surely Tad Dorgan coined the term hard-boiled? Ed]

Let’s examine the evidence shall we? Well, they both wore bottle thick cheaters for a start. [enough with the Tad Dorganisms. Ed] Additionally, they both suffered from Nausea, although admittedly Chandler’s trouble stemmed from the half gallon of Scotch he swilled back every day rather than existential angst. Both men were of course dedicated advocates of the pipe and unless startled by sudden flash photography, these literary behemoths were never without thick, black, smoke-churning briars hanging from their learned lips.

Then there was the trouble with women. Chandler famously lived with his mom and his wife, a woman old enough to be his mom, for many a long year. Satre on the other hand, slavered after live in lover and all round feminist saucepot Simone de Beauvoir; a Ménage à trois of quite a different kind, as kinky school teacher Simone had a penchant for quite literally “bringing her work home” for Satre to share.

So there we have it Crimeziners—two literary giants—one shared physiognomy. Separated at birth, or one and the same person?
You dear Crimeziner shall be the judge, as once again a bare-chested Consuela is chasing Armando the Guatemalan pool boy around the yard. Intervention will be necessary, as the slip and fall legislation in Southern California is particularly draconian.

Tony Bulmer

Simone de Beauvoir pops one off. Raymond Chandler stands by without judgement.


Black-eyed Blonde

John Banville as Benjamin Black with the Black-eyed Blonde

Top of the morning to you Crimeziners. It is over sixty years since Raymond Chandler’s last great novel the Long Goodbye kicked out the stained glass windows of metaphorical bishop’s residencies everywhere. But now, just as you thought it was safe to go into the confessional, there is a new blonde in town.

The last hired gun to tackle a Chandler reboot was Robert B. Parker with Poodle Springs & Perchance to Dream. And now once again, those nice people at the Chandler estate are opening up the great mans casket to see if there is a dime or three they missed. As luck of the Irish would have it, the pennies on the corpses eyes are pure gold this time out.

As Crimezine has previously mentioned Benjamin Black is the mystery-writing pseudonym of award winning Irish novelist John Banville, a man whose elegantly crafted noir mysteries set in 1950’s Dublin feature a grouchy pathologist known only as Quirke.

Now, Banville cuts an elegant figure in a fedora, but can he cut it when it comes to emulating -one of the most idiosyncratic—and widely copied—authors of the 20th century? Banville certainly follows the Philip Marlowe formula closely, almost too closely on occasion. Then, there is the phenomena of Humphery Bogart to contend with; without question the actor casts a long shadow that over the idea of just who and what Philip Marlowe is, so we should perhaps not be surprised to discover on occasion that Banville is channeling Bogart rather than Chandler. There are perhaps some folks who would argue that is a good thing, because genius though Chandler was, he also had certain faults as a writer, for example, his love of convoluted adverbs, and his ad hoc often whiskey addled, plotting. Thankfully Banville manages to keep such excesses in check.

A popular perception has developed that Chandler’s style consists entirely of clever metaphors and music-hall witticisms. In fact, his language is often far more complex and Banville does an admirable job of emulating the many idiosyncrasies found in Chandler’s work. He keeps the repartee brisk and well timed. This is to be admired but it also draws the clearest distinction between the work of Banville and Chandler as the great Raymondo was never shy of excess—in all its forms.

Hardcore Chandler fans will no doubt have a number of grumbles with this book, but given the quality of the novel as a whole, such complaints can be “walked off” as quickly as Marlowe tackles a crack on the noggin from a boulevard tough guy. Similarly, linguistic aficionados may spot a number of stylistic clangers but these niggle rather than annoy. Historical pedants will likewise find themselves computing the veracity of certain details. But the 1950s, that was a long time ago right?

Then of course there are the Angelenos. It is not clear if Banville has ever been to Los Angeles. He hired native help to “fill in the details”, but cold hard facts are never enough to compensate for the lyrical intensity of a city as complex and enigmatic as The City of Angels; chapter 13 of Chandler’s book Little Sister is a case in point. It is here that Chandler goes off into one of his famous digressions about the city he loved so much; The writing is so good, it made some dude called Michael Connelly want to be a writer—many others too no doubt.

But what of the Black-eyed Blonde, we hear you ask. Well, the trouble starts when hot strutting heiress Clare Cavendish hires Marlowe to hunt down her extra marital man-squeeze Nico Peterson. Unfortunately it transpires that Peterson has gotten dead in a street corner accident but whadya know—young Nico might not be as dead as we think. Marlowe says to the gorgeous young heiress, “As a private eye I’m not completely unknown, but why would a daughter of Dorothea Langrishe of Ocean Heights… choose me to find her missing man?” Why indeed Crimeziners, but we quickly find that this missing persons case leads to murder, betrayal, and the kind of corruption that the Bay City bretheran are only too familiar. Naturally, the wonderful Bernie Ohls makes an appearance, as do a gruesome collection of pugnacious toughs and feckless toffs. Naturally the crumpled and tenacious Marlowe runs rings around all of them with his usual brand of hardboiled wit and double-distilled deduction.

No doubt this book will draw new readers to the Chandler oeuvre, which is no doubt the intention behind this charming time-slip into the world of Philip Marlow. Hurrah to that we say. Start with The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, and The Big Sleep, also try the short stories Chandler wrote for Pulp magazines like Black Mask—you can get them in collections now, such as the excellent Trouble is my Business. But first, you might want to dip your carefully manicured tootsie in to the brackish waters of nouveau noir from Dublin Ireland—buy The Black-eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black.

We leave you—as it is St Paddy’s day, with a Blackism worthy of Chandler himself. “I can’t decide which are worse, bars that pretend to be Irish, with their plastic shamrocks and shillelaghs, or Cockneyfied joints like the Bull. I could describe it, but I haven’t the heart.”

Raymond Chandler is an almost sacred figure to Crimeziners everywhere. But many have not read his final works, Playback and

Playback Raymond Chandler

Playback—started life as a screenplay

Poodle Springs. ‘Disappointing’ is a word commonly used when these books are reviewed. But given a little historical context both books make fascinating reading.

Chandler’s first professional work, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot”, was published in Black Mask magazine in 1933 he was 45. His first novel The Big Sleep was published in 1939. By 1943, Chandler began working for Paramount, consorting over the next years, with both Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock. In 1946 the same year that Humphrey Bogart starred as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, Chandler moved away from Los Angeles to La Jolla, California, [pronounced Lahoyer] It is there that he wrote his final works.

The genesis for Playback & Poodle Springs starts with Chandler’s 1953 novel The Long Goodbye, for it is here Marlowe meets feisty sexpot Linda Loring, daughter of irascible moneybags Harlan Potter. Chandler considered [Edgar Award winning] The Long Goodbye, his best book. He wrote it whilst his wife Cissy was terminally ill. In 1954 Cissy, aged 84 [who was 18 years older than Chandler] died of fibrosis of the lungs—A tragic personal milestone that marked a dramatic decline in Chandler’s creative prowess.

Chandler was 70 when Playback, a story of murder, blackmail and revenge was published in 1958. The book started life as an original screenplay written for Universal some 10 years earlier. Chandler famously cannibalized many of his novels from short stories he wrote for Black Mask and other pulp magazines. But Playback was never a classic pulp story, which is perhaps why it failed to make it onto the big screen. Stylistically, Playback differs widely from Chandler’s other novels, the language is blander and less ambitious and the location—the fictional coastal town of Esmeralda [A thinly disguised La Jolla] is a very long way from the dirty boulevards of downtown L.A.

During the 30’s and 40’s, when Chandler wrote his classic works, America’s twin obsessions were the glamour of Hollywood and the demonic underside of that dream—the world of gangsters and organized crime. It is no accident that Philip Marlowe the fast-talking, hard-drinking private eye from Hollywood Boulevard epitomized the spirit of the age.

By contrast Playback has a curiously old fashioned—even Victorian edge to it.[Born in 1888, Chandler was a Victorian] In a country that had just been through two world wars, the Korean war and such horrific abuses as the MK ultra LSD experiments. The central premise of Playback seems oddly quaint. Would a man really pursue someone “to the ends of the earth” to seek revenge? Perhaps they would, but the way it is served up here it vibes like a handlebar moustaches at dawn dueling match, with a less than climactic third act.

In his early books Chandler clearly identifies with, and channels his wry humor through Marlowe. But, in the Long Goodbye—there is a curious divergence. In a personal and literary crossroads, three characters now emerge. Marlowe observes two variants of Chandler’s personality—Drunken author Roger Wade, a writer on the ropes and war scarred alcoholic Terry Lennox, a man who like Chandler had lived much of his life on the edge and spent a good deal of time in England. Perhaps, like Dickens Chandler was examining the ghosts of the past—Lennox, Present—Marlowe and future—Wade?

Unfortunately for Chandler, the prophecy of doom came true. Whilst he was writing The Long Goodbye his wife died and he finally became the kind of breaks-off alcoholic he long feared he would become. With age, booze and ill-health creeping up on him. Chandler must, in a similar way to his character Roger Wade, have sensed that his creativity was in steep decline.

In his booze addled desperation to regain creative inspiration, it must have been tempting for Chandler to imagine that he could shoot a jolt of life into the flat-lining screenplay for Playback, by turning it into a novel. He was quite wrong however. Whilst it must have seemed natural to use the story-arc skills he picked up in Hollywood and send Marlowe to a quiet little coastal town where “a dog could lay down in the road to sleep” This was most emphatically not what readers wanted. They wanted fast talking Hollywood gangsters and whiskey-soaked histrionics. Perhaps Chandler feared a descent into self-parody? Perhaps he believed readers would understand the personal transition he had made from the Hollywood fast lane, to the quiet suburbs of La Jolla?

Sadly, if Chandler still imagined himself as Marlowe, the public didn’t. Ever since The Big Sleep in 1946, the name and image of Humphrey Bogart was now synonymous with Phillip Marlowe.

Meanwhile, writers like Ross MacDonald had moved into Chandler’s territory and bloodthirsty pulp sensationalist Mickey Spillane had distilled the hardboiled genre, transforming it into a money-spinning formula for the modern age.

Raymond Chandler died in 1959, leaving behind four rather insipid chapters of a book he named Poodle Springs. In 1988—the hundred-year anniversary of Chandler’s birth, the Chandler estate hired American crime writing legend Robert B. Parker to complete the book. In the last chapter of Playback feisty little rich girl Linda Loring rings from Paris to propose marriage to Marlowe, a narrative anomaly that gongs louder than the untimely plunge of Sherlock Holmes over the Reichenbach Falls.


Robert B. Parker—We thought it was Poodle Springs Bob? Not Corgi sits.

The snidely titled Poodle Springs—a reference to the wealthy and pampered desert town of Palm Springs, where many Angeleno’s choose to retire, starts with Marlowe and Loring setting up home. The first chapters, exclusively written by Chandler, are entirely devoid of the wit and drama we expect. Worse, the ‘marital bliss’ of the Marlowe household seems unnatural and phony, leaving our hero gasping like the proverbial fish out of water.

Luckily,  Parker, who devoted part of his doctoral dissertation to the study of Chandler, leaps into the drivers seat after chapter four and begins ripping through the narrative gears.

Marlowe is quickly hired to find a gambler who skipped town, leaving a $100,000 debt. Marlowe finds the man’s rich, neglected wife, and is quickly back in Los Angeles where he discovers the missing gambler has a history as a seedy photographer and blackmailer. The labyrinthine plot is typically Chandleresque in construction, containing a heady mix of blackmail, betrayal and murderous intrigue. There is even an ingenious double identity plot sewn lovingly into the story line, which must surely be a jocular tip of the hat to Chandler’s involvement in the legendary screenplay for Double Indemnity.

It is a testament to Parker’s skill as a writer that he transformed the unpromising start of Poodle Springs into a novel of such stature. Fans of Parker’s Spenser series will be perhaps less surprised, as Spenser is unquestionably cut from the same cloth as Marlowe. Parker is a man who knows plot. He also did an admirable job inserting the kind of one-liners of which Chandler would be proud. But to the discerning reader, Parker’s work lacks the lyricism of the original. Chandler was so much more than a gag-man. He worked his audience like a music hall comedian, juxtaposing tragedy and pathos with complex sentence and paragraph structures—such as tricolon, laundry-list payoff gags and acerbic one-liners. He was also the master of the philosophical digression and he knew how to mix this formula up in a way that many have imitated, but few [including Parker] have succeeded in replicating.

So there we have it Crimeziners, Playback is strictly for completists only and Poodle Springs is an admirable effort that falls short on style and the noir milieu of the original Marlowe stories. And if we learn anything we must remember, “Guns never settle anything they are just a fast curtain to a bad second act.” And whilst we insist that all Crimeziners [unlike Chandler] drink responsibly, we remind you also that, “A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.”

In 1991 Robert B. Parker followed up Poodle Springs with a sequel to The Big Sleep, which went by the grandly Shakespearean title, “Perchance to Dream”.

Crimezine—John Banville—Chandler

John Banville looks the part…

Macmillan offshoot Henry Holt has announced that Booker shortlisted writer John Banville will be cobbling together a new Philip Marlowe novel in the style of Raymond Chandler, an announcement that had Crimezine reaching unsteadily for the ‘office bottle’.

Crimezine knew things were bad for the vanishing handful of big name publishing houses, but we had no idea how bad. A world-wide lack of enthusiasm for end of isle best sellers has led to a new age of marketing ‘innovation’. No surprise that the big money marketeers are now reaching for the top selling successes of yesteryear in a desperate attempt to enliven their flagging balance sheets.

Hollyweird has for many years cannibalized cinematic ideas in a shameless cycle of self parody that grows more rapid as the years stumble by. Meanwhile artists and musicians have been copying each other for centuries, but literature— particularly crime literature—surely that is sacred?

The brand of ‘Pulp’ Crime writing popularized by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler has been widely copied throughout the years, in a way, some would argue, that has diminished the genre. More importantly Hammett and Chandler wrote very few books by modern standards leaving a demand vacuum for other authors to fill. Recently other legendary characters, such as Sherlock Holmes and James Bond have received ‘new’ story treatments by modern authors Jeffery Deaver and Anthony Horowitz, respectively. So it should come as no surprise that publishing poobahs are trying it with Chandler.

They have tried it before, of course. Twenty years ago Robert B. Parker wrote a brace of largely forgotten works in the style of Chandler: Poodle Springs, a novel Chandler started before his death in 1959, followed by a sequel to the Big Sleep entitled Perchance to Dream; a tome that had Crimezine snoozing—rather than disappearing into a pseudo Shakespearean noir dream world.

Still, give Johnny a chance we say, he might be a ‘Novelist, Playwright, and Screenwriter’  as his  resume so grandly announces —but so was Chandler. Banville is also a crime enthusiast, as his less than legendary Benjamin Black novels prove, and he did win the Franz Kafka Prize in 2011, so he knows a thing or three about Chandleresque plot lines.

So what is the problem we hear you ask? Simply put the literary establishment has been looking down its collective nose at the world of Crime writing for decades. Literary critic Edmund Wilson once described Mystery writing as a vice, that ranked somewhere between smoking and crossword puzzles.

How ironic then, that the same literary establishment should look to plagiarize Chandler to rebuild its own ailing fortunes. It is enough to make a Bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window, as Chandler might say.

What do you think Crimeziners, can Banville cut it?

For further thoughts on ghost writing, read the Crimezine article Ghost writers in the Machine, first published in October last year.

Connelly & Gould talk Chandler

Crimezine-Chandler Connelly-Gould
Michael Connelly & Elliot Gould

Raymond Chandler Black Mask

Black Mask: noir legends

The Long Goodbye is not typical of Chandler’s crime novels, but it may be the closest he ever came to writing a novel that can stand as a work of literature, independent of hard-boiled, or detective trappings. That observation to the side, if Michael Connelly came to the writings of Chandler after viewing this Altman fiasco [1973 Altman flick the Long Goodbye] then this speaks more about the quality of Chandler’s talent than the accidental association of Altman’s film with Chandler’s writing. The film opens, with Elliot Gould playing coy games with cats that have nothing to do with Chandler’s characterization of Marlowe, nor do these antics reveal anything about the wit and language of Marlowe—the narrator of the novels. Gould’s character is underdeveloped, immature, and not very witty or clever. Chandler’s Marlowe is always surprising in the way his language reveals his character. Chandler always delights, with similes and metaphors never read before in any other American novel, let alone any other detective novel.

Altman’s film is muddled and unsurprising, its mundane revelation of character confusing. I dislike this film but that does not mean I dislike Altman. Many of his films are excellent. Altman takes chances—many of his films fail as a result.

Because I think Altman’s The Long Goodbye is a failure, does not mean I think the same of Chandler. Because the Altman film introduced Connelly and others, to the writing of Chandler, I feel this may have influenced these readers into reflecting back on the film some of the reading glory they experienced in their initial exploration of Chandler.

I guess I was lucky to have discovered Chandler as an inquisitive pre-teen reader, and I continued to read Chandler, both his novels, and later his short fiction—some of it only revealed within the last thirty years or so—in the noble collection, Killer in the Rain, because Chandler abhorred the publication of his formative pulp short stories, which he used to produce his early novels. But I enjoy reading these early tales, which Chandler cobbled together to form his early novels even more than reading his more “pure” short fiction. I enjoy observing how he constructed his novels from his short fiction.

I enjoy reading everything I have ever discovered by Chandler, including his final novel and screenplay Playback. I even enjoyed his screenplay for the Alan Ladd script, The Blue Dahlia, which Chandler admits he wrote while mostly drunk.

In my opinion Chandler is the greatest stylist of the Black Mask school. I do not think he wrote the best mysteries however, The Maltese Falcon, and Red Harvest, both by Dashiell Hammett, are the two greatest detective novels, along with short story The Glass Key—all of which originally appeared in Black Mask Magazine.

I think The Long Goodbye may be the closest Chandler, or any Black Mask contributor, ever came to writing a classic literary novel. I also think that Chandler is the finest writer to have appeared in Black Mask. Hammett’s Maltese Falcon is an iconic work of American literature. Its dialogue is unsurpassed in detective writing. But Marlowe’s narrative voice is a work of genius—and Chandler’s use of poetic imagery in his similes and metaphors is unsurpassed, in the popular novel—perhaps even in the literary novel. In addition, Chandler’s physical and psychological description of the American city, specifically Los Angeles & Hollywood is unsurpassed. Chandler excels in his descriptions of the movie industry, wealthy socialite society, and the poseur social scam artists who inhabit this world.

But I stand by my original impression of Altman’s The Long Goodbye: it was a failure as a Chandler film; it was a failure as an Altman film; and it was an embarrassment as an Elliot Gould film. Many years ago, Gould narrated a number of Chandler’s longer short stories. He did an outstanding job in these narrations and he was proud of this work.

I spent time on Temple Campus speaking with Gould. And later we had a few phone conversations after he returned to the west coast. We spoke of Chandler, and he mentioned the audio readings a number of times with pride. He never once mentioned the Altman film, which by the way, I saw when it was originally released in the theaters. I remember wondering what Altman and Gould thought they were doing when I watched the first 15 minutes or so of the film—with the business with the cats.

Chandler was very fond of cats. He was sentimental and wrote with great sadness about the passing of his oriental cat who can be seen with Chandler on the back cover of many books. The Altman business with the cats was entirely out of character for Marlowe. And it got the film off to a poor start. Not that the film ever found a good place to go to!

Visit a screening of The Long Good Bye 3/25/2012  in Santa Monica Library, Los Angeles. Meet Elliot Gould and Michael Connelly after for a Q&A session

Crimezine knows that you are all as obsessed by Raymond Chandler as we are, so there is good news if you live in Los Angeles. Crimezine Favorite Michael Connelly will be attending a movie screening of Robert Altman’s 1973 version of the classic Chandler tale.

The event kicks off March 25 2012 at 2:00 pm, in the main Library, MLK Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles

Actor and star of the Long Goodbye Elliot Gould will also be in attendance for a Q&A session. The screening is part of the Santa Monica Citywide Reads 2012 event.

Crimeziners may be interested to know that this movie became an inspiration and major obsession for Connelly, to the extent that the writer later moved into the very same apartment in Hollywood where the movie was shot. Lincoln Lawyer director Brad Furman also slotted in a homage to the Long Goodbye, Chandler and Conners, into the recent movie but you knew that already didn’t you Crimeziners?


Michael Connelly

Connelly, Crais, Crimezine

Conners & Bob: Crime legends

Lucky Crimeziners who live in Los Angeles, should head on down to Lincoln Middle School Auditorium, 1501 California Ave, on Saturday 25 February 2012 where best selling authors and Crimezine chums Michael Connelly and Robert Crais will discuss the influence of Raymond Chandler  on the crime genre and their work in particular. Bonzo Bob tells Crimezine he will also blather on about all matters regarding the City of Angels and the world of crime writing so get your questions ready crimeziners.

Natch, the two crime writing legends will use this as an opportunity to shamelessly hawk their latest wares. Crimezine understands they will even sign insulting messages of your choice inside.  Entrance is free. Limited parking is available on-site.  Seating is first come, first served. No reservations. The event kicks off 7.00 til nine.

Naturally Mulholland Drive residents will be attending en mass, so get there early.

Crimezine-Black Mask-Dashiell Hammett-Raymond Chandler

Black Mask A dame-tastic blast from the Crimezine Past

Black Mask Magazine  was launched in 1920. The magazine more than any other was responsible for turning such crime writers as Dashiell Hammett and  Raymond Chandler into the perennial hardboiled noir favorites that they are today.

Fast forward to the present day and Black Mask is an online resource of old Black Mask material, a place where you can thrill to hardboiled detective fiction of yester-year and wow to the way out retro artwork. Everything is online these days sadly, so no crinkly yellowing pages and smudgy black ink to enjoy. (sob!)

Still, check in to catch up with Black Mask and some other classic crime brands these guys own, such as Mystery Magazine, Dime Detective, and Strange Detective Mysteries. Cool.

For those Crimeziners tippy-tap-tapping away in your smoke filled writers Hell. Black Mask is seeking contributions, but don’t get too excited, they are not paying anything. So if you are a budding Chandler or Hammett, best keep that day job at the Pinkerton Detective agency for now.