Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge - C is for Chandler and Carey

"The doorman at the Kilmarnock was six feet two. He wore a pale blue uniform, and white gloves made his hands look enormous. He opened the door of the Yellow taxi as gently as an old maid stroking a cat." - "Smark-Aleck Kill" - Raymond Chandler

It's hard not to love writing like that. I fell in love with detective novels at an early age starting with Nancy Drew and moving on to Agatha Christie, Sherlock Homes, etc.

Then I discovered the hardboiled detective novel and film noir and never looked back. Raymond Chandler is the master of the form. I read his work and marvel at all the attention to detail that never seems to get tedious and wish that I knew people that spoke like characters in his stories do so I could talk like that, too.

The best homage to him I think is the film Miller's Crossing which to me is Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key (which is very good) rewritten by Raymond Chandler. Snazy dialogue, great details and an anti-hero who gets beat up just as much as the not so black and white bad guys.

I have to admit I decided to read Oscar and Lucinda primarily because I knew a film was being made of it with Ralph Fiennes and Kate Blanchett and it sounded interesting. I fell in love and have read quite a few of his novels. Sort of historical fiction and yet not that at all. Actually that "sort of x but not that at all" describes all the novels I've read. All the stories seem at first to be familiar tropes but not that at all. I'm thinking specifically of My Life as a Fake and True History of the Kelly Gang.

Another aspect I like about them is the Australian-ness of them. To me as an American it's familiar but not familiar enough that I don't end up learning something about my American-ness and the American ethos in the process.

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, it's not too late for you to sign up and let me see how you handle the letter Q.


  1. I have never read either of these, but I really love that first line by Chandler.

    New follower here. I’m enjoying reading my fellow “A to Z”ers. I look forward to visiting again.


  2. I once was at a party where a Dashiell Hammett novel was reenacted with ninja Legos as a prelude to a Kurosawa movie based on the same. Wait, that was you!

  3. I also grew up loving mysteries and cut my teeth on Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I find Aussies interesting and sexy without being overly provacative.

  4. Hello, Fellow Challenger. Gonna have to fill up my Kindle with Carey. I'll watch anything with Fiennes in it because he picks good vehicles. Thanks for sharing your insight. I'm #424 from Rockin' Chair Reflections. Come visit when you can.

  5. I've never been much of a mystery reader, except for Encyclopedia Brown and a few Nancy Drew. Perhaps it's because I could never really envision myself being able to write it that I didn't enjoy reading it. But I'm glad you do!

    P.S. I'm looking forward to Q too! And X. X is going to be a doozy.