In creating detective, Philip Marlowe, Chandler gave the world one of its most genre defining characters. The quintessential 1940s “gumshoe” that we all picture today comes from Chandler’s work: the fedora, the down at heel detective pouring himself a whisky late at night in his office, and the beautiful femme fatale.
Chandler is renowned for his memorable one-liners which show a unique combination of light humour, analogy and descriptive prose – e.g., “He had a heart as big as one of Mae West's hips”. Nearly all of his books have been adapted for the big screen and, with Humphrey Bogart cast perfectly as Marlowe, Chandler has become one of the first names people think of in detective fiction from that era. While his stories contain occasional plot holes, Chandler himself conceded that characters and atmosphere were more important than tying up all the loose ends.
The Big Sleep from 1939 was Chandler’s big break, and is still considered one of his best works. First editions of the book have reached more than $10,000 dollars at auction. Subsequent works also regularly reach several thousand dollars. His 1953 book, The Long Goodbye, was his last major literary work and a first edition can be found for less than $500.
Although his work may seem formulaic and even simplistic now, he launched a style of writing that set the benchmark for American detective novels. Chandler’s simple imagery and provocative one-liners have left us with an unshakeable picture of detective fiction from that era. Often copied (and occasionally lampooned) Chandler’s books have rarely been bettered and they give collectors the opportunity to own works that helped define how detective fiction is still seen today.
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep. Alfred A. Knopf (1939). Chandler'S First Book, Scarce First Edition.
Chandler, Raymond. The Lady in the Lake. Knopf (1943). First Printing.
Chandler, Raymond. Five Murderers. Avon Book Company New York (1944). Avon Murder Mystery Monthly #19; Issued Pretty Much Simultaneously With Avon #63 Collection Of Mystery Stories Which First Appeared In Black Mask. Contents: Blackmailers Don’T Shoot, Goldfish, Guns At Cyrano’S, Nevada Gas, And Spanish Blood.
Chandler, Raymond. Five Sinister Characters. Avon Book Company New York (1945). Avon Murder Mystery Monthly # 28; Contains Stories I’Ll Be Waiting, The King In Yellow, Pearls Are A Nuisance, Red Wind, And Trouble Is My Business.
Chandler, Raymond. Spanish Blood. The World Publishing Company New York (1946). A Collection Of Five Short Stories.
Chandler, Raymond. The Finger Man and Other Stories. Avon Book Company New York (1946). Avon Murder Mystery Monthly # 43; Contains Three Short Stories, The Finger Man, The Bronze Door And Smart-Aleck Kill, And The Long Essay The Gentle Art Of Murder.
Chandler, Raymond. The Hard-Boiled Omnibus: Early Stories from Black Mask. Simon and Schuster (1946). Shaw, Joseph T. (Editor); Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Raoul Whitfield, Paul Cain, Lester Dent, Reuben Jennings Shay, Ramon Decolta, Norbert Davis, Thomas Walsh; Ed Lybeck; Roger Torrey; Theodore Tinsley (Contributors). First Printing.
Chandler, Raymond. The Lady in the Lake. Hamish Hamilton and Melbourne (1946). First Australian Edition. Exceptionally Scarce Fourth Novel.
Chandler, Raymond. The Lady in the Lake. Grosset and Dunlap (1946). Photoplay Edition Issued To Coinside With The Release Of The Film.
Chandler, Raymond. The Little Sister. Hearst Magazines (1949). Abridged Version, Issue Of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1950). First Printing; Contains Collection Of Twelve Short Stories And A Critical Essay; Dust Jacket Designed By Boris Artzybasheff.
Chandler, Raymond. The Long Goodbye. Hamish Hamilton (1953). First English Printing, Preceeding Us Publication.
Chandler, Raymond. The Raymond Chandler Omnibus. Hamish Hamilton (1953). Contains Four Raymond Chandler Novels - The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, The High Window And The Lady In The Lake.
Chandler, Raymond. Playback. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1958). First Printing Stated On Copyright Page.
Chandler, Raymond. Smart-Aleck Kill. Hamish Hamilton (1958). Contains Four Stories From The Simple Art Of Murder - The Title Story, Plus Pick Up On Noon Street, Nevada Gas And Spanish Blood; Not Published In The U.S.; Issued In A Small Hardcover Printing With The Bulk Of The Printing Published In Paperback.
Chandler, Raymond. Killer in the Rain. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1964). First Printing, Introduction By Philip Durham; Contains Eight Stories (Five Previously Uncollected) Spanning Chandlers Career.
Chandler, Raymond. Killer in the Rain. Hamish Hamilton (1964). First Printing; Precedes American Edition; Posthumous Collection Of Eight Stories - Killer In The Rain, The Man Who Liked Dogs, The Curtain, Try The Girl, Mandarin'S Jade, Bay City Blues, The Lady In The Lake, And No Crime In The Mountains.
Chandler, Raymond. The Smell of Fear. Hamish Hamilton (1964). Cover Design By Youngman Carter; Two Of The Stories In This Collection Have Never Before Appeared In Book Form In Britain - These Are Chandler'S First Published Story And His Last.
Chandler, Raymond. Smell of Fear. Hamish Hamilton (1965). Collection Of Fourteen Stories.
Chandler, Raymond. Backfire: Story for the Screen. Santa Teresa Press, Santa Barbara (1984). First Printing; Preface By Robert B. Parker; 200 Copies Paperbound In Decorative Wrappers, 126 Copies Handbound And Signed By The Author.
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep. Arion Press (1986). Limited Edition Of 425 Copies, Illustrated With 38 Duo-Tone Photographs Of Actors Playing The Parts; Introduction By Lawrence Clark Powell And Concluding Essay By Photographer Stoumen. Signed By Stouman; Pages Are Decorated And Rounded; 40 Blue/Black Duo-Tone Photo-Lithographs.