Wow, compiling a list of the top ten mysteries of the Golden Age was much harder than I thought starting out. My two previous posts on this subject lists and supports my arguments for picks two through ten.

Pick number one? Have you guess it yet?

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. It had to be

The hard-boiled novel first introduced famed detective Phillip Marlowe. Beneath his wise cracking, hard-drinking, tough private eye exterior, Marlowe is contemplative and philosophical, enjoying chess and poetry. The storyline of The Big Sleep is noted for its complexity, with characters double-crossing one another and secrets being exposed throughout, but it’s about Marlow and Chandler’s way of writing.

Raymond ChandlerLike Dashiell Hammett, Chandler wrote for the pulp magazine, Black Mask in the 1930’s. Stylistically, he had a significant influence on American popular literature, not just mysteries.

Chandler had me at wise cracking. Just from this book are a few of his memorable quotes.

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”

“You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women.”

“She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.”

“Hair like steel wool grew far back on his head and gave him a domed brown forehead that might at careless glance seemed a dwelling place for brains.”

Chandler’s fame grew in the forties, though he still qualifies for the golden age with 1939’s The Big Sleep.

So that’s my top ten list. How many have you read, and how many of your favorites made the list?




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Longtime Arizona resident and full time writer of novels with a touch of tenderness, a splash of mystery and plenty of laughs.

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