|Title:||The Simple Art of Murder|
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Company|
|Tags:||fiction, mystery, short stories|
|Description:||This is a collection of early short stories and an essay which gave the book its name. The latter is fairly short and its main idea is an argument for the virtues of a noir mystery as opposed to a traditional British one. Considering the fact that this comes from a guy who became a classic of the former even before his death and that he picked up some below the average examples of the latter, I agree.
The stories themselves left me out cold for the most part. I can actually describe the plot in practically all of them at once. A trouble starts involving a damsel in distress. A tough guy emerges (usually a PI or a good cop) who gets involved, gets knocked out, and shot at. It turns out the damsel in distress is a minor culprit which makes her a femme fatale. Everybody and their brother meet at the main villain place, a big shootout is insured. Everybody dies except for the tough guy with a heard of gold and the femme fatale who emerge unscratched; the latter escapes. The end. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Chandler, Raymond
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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