book: Raymond Chandler “Playback”

I tend to read thrillers a lot, so when I saw a Raymond Chandler novel at the St Silas Christmas Fair I thought it would be worth a try.  I’ve only come across Chandler and his iconic Private Eye Philip Marlowe in the classic American Film Noir movies, usually played by Humphrey Bogart.

The opening page of Playback had enough double talk and sarcastic one liners to get me interested:

‘Did you hear me? I said I was Clyde Umney. the lawyer.’
‘Clyde Umnet, the lawyer.  I thought we had several of them.’
‘Don’t get fresh with me, young man.’
‘Sorry, Mr. Umney.  But I’m not a young man. I’m old, tired and full of no coffee.  What can I do for you, sir?’

The plot was a little strange, opening with Marlowe being hired to follow a woman, Betty Mayfield, to a small coastal resort town of Esmeralda, California.  On the train Mayfield is recognized by a man who then tries to blackmail her, for reasons we (and Marlow) are unaware of.  Overhearing the blackmail attempt causes Marlow to switch side.  After that it gets kind of complicated with many changes of name, back stories and Marlow following his nose.

I found the book a quick easy read where the plot simply moves from step to step.  I think I’ll try some more of Raymond Chandler’s books sometime.

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