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The Lady in the Lake

Book Details

Title:The Lady in the Lake
Author:Chandler, Raymond
Published:   1943
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Tags:detective, fiction, mystery, Philip Marlowe (Fictitious character)
Description:The wife of a wealthy Los Angeles businessman has mysteriously disappeared, having last been seen at Little Fawn Lake. Definitely a case for Philip Marlowe... [Suggest a different description.]
Downloads:563
Pages:138 Info

Author Bio for Chandler, Raymond

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Due to his straitened financial circumstances during the Great Depression, Chandler turned to his latent writing talent to earn a living, teaching himself to write pulp fiction by studying the Perry Mason story formula of Erle Stanley Gardner. Chandler's first professional work, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in Black Mask magazine in 1933; his first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, featuring his famous Philip Marlowe detective character speaking in the first person.

In 1950, Chandler described in a letter to his English publisher, Hamish Hamilton, why he began reading pulp magazines and later wrote for them:

Wandering up and down the Pacific Coast in an automobile I began to read pulp magazines, because they were cheap enough to throw away and because I never had at any time any taste for the kind of thing which is known as women's magazines. This was in the great days of the Black Mask (if I may call them great days) and it struck me that some of the writing was pretty forceful and honest, even though it had its crude aspect. I decided that this might be a good way to try to learn to write fiction and get paid a small amount of money at the same time. I spent five months over an 18,000 word novelette and sold it for $180. After that I never looked back, although I had a good many uneasy periods looking forward.

His second Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely (1940), became the basis for three movie versions adapted by other screenwriters, including 1944's Murder My Sweet (which marked the screen debut of the Marlowe character), starring Dick Powell (whose depiction of Marlowe Chandler reportedly applauded). Literary success and film adaptations led to a demand for Chandler himself as a screenwriter. He and Billy Wilder co-wrote Double Indemnity (1944), based on James M. Cain's novel of the same name. The noir screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Said Wilder, "I would just guide the structure and I would also do a lot of the dialogue, and he (Chandler) would then comprehend and start constructing too." Wilder always acknowledged that the ramped-up dialogue which makes the film so memorable was largely Chandler’s.

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