Am back with another BCCC book review. To be honest I wasn’t sure I would have been able to put up a review for this challenge this month, thanks to the book slump. But since I have broken away from that I finally read it. Let me be honest and say it wasn’t easy to read this book. I almost gave up and wanted to DNF it but once I start I want to see it through especially if the pages are just 139. So decided to finish it for the sake of it and also because I do not have a last-minute replacement crime classic to read instead. And here’s my take on it.
Philip Marlowe, a tough, cynical, yet honest private detective, is hired by the old, ailing General Sternwood to help him “take care of” Arthur Gwynn Geiger, who has been blackmailing the General with potentially scandalous pictures of the General’s daughter, Carmen Sternwood to which Marlowe agrees to the task. The General also mentions that his eldest daughter, Vivian’s ex-husband Rusty Regan is missing. Marlowe sets out to find the source of the one who took the picture and ends up embroiled in a blackmailing racket that has a lot going on behind the scenes. Though Rusty’s disappearance has nothing to do with the blackmail itself, it does help the book come full circle.
Did you miss my last post? Check it out here Anatomy Of A Scandal by #SarahVaughan
This hardboiled detective fiction was not my cup of tea to be honest. I read some reviews once I finished to make sure I was on the same page only to realise I missed few plot points. The above review is just a gist of the story that I understood. A lot goes on in the book that I truly didn’t understand mainly because I lost interest way too soon. The writing, the characters, the setting just wasn’t holding my interest. No character has a deeper layer than the roles they are playing. The Sternwood girls were like old Hollywood movie heroines. Lots of glitz but no depth. The detective himself was one dimensional and stereotypical – in that he was a little mysogynistic. The dialogues had no preamble (but has style) and it was just all over the place.
“I don’t mind your showing me your legs. They’re very swell legs and it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter nights.” – The Big Sleep.
From what I have understood, it gives symbolic importance to American society and a particular period – the Great Depression. Also homosexuality. But none of these made an impact on me. Its not to say that its a terrible book – just not meant for me. What made me choose the book was the blurb and the fact that it is considered a great classic and is in Time-magazine’s top 100 all-time novels. Perhaps I may enjoy it if I give it another chance.
Pros: Storyline, relevant to its time, atmospheric
Cons: Mysogynistic and One dimensional characters
Bibliogyan Verdict: For fans of hardboiled Noir style detective mysteries