Wednesday, July 23, 2008



Our blog buddies at and help us celebrated Raymond Chandler’s 120 birthday (though he died in 1959), with his favorite Chandler lines, taken from a fine little book called Philip Marlowe’s Guide to Life (2005), edited by Martin Asher.

There was a sad fellow over on a bar stool talking to the bartender, who was polishing a glass and listening with that plastic smile people wear when they are trying not to scream.
(The Long Goodbye)

It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.
(Farewell, My Lovely)

“The first divorce is the only tough one. After that it’s merely a problem of mathematics.”
(The Long Goodbye)

“Los Angeles was just a big dry sunny place with ugly homes and no style, but goodhearted and peaceful. It had the climate they just yap about now. People used to sleep out on porches. Little groups who thought they were intellectual used to call it the Athens of America. It wasn’t that either, but it wasn’t a neon-lighted slum either.”
(The Little Sister)

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.
(Farewell, My Lovely)

The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips.
(The Lady in the Lake)

And, of course, the best and perhaps most often quoted line Chandler ever got down on paper:

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.
(Farewell, My Lovely)

It’s sentences like these that make this author’s books worth reading over and over again.


J. Kingston Pierce said...

In fact, that entire text was taken from The Rap Sheet, and was not written by Bill Crider. The original post appears here:

Jeff Pierce
Editor, The Rap Sheet

bish8 said...

Thanks, Jeff!

I'll change the credit!

The King Of Cool said...

Happy Birthday. What a great man. One of my favorite writers of all time.