Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is mixing business with pleasure – he’s getting paid to follow a lovely mysterious redhead called Eleanor King. And wherever Miss King goes, trouble is sure to follow. But she’s easy on the eye and Marlowe’s happy to do as he’s told. But one dead body later and what started out as a lazy afternoon’s snooping soon becomes a deadly cocktail of blackmail, lies, mistaken identity – and murder.
There are very few series of books with which I feel compelled to collect them specifically based on their covers, but the Philip Marlowe series has such stylish appeal that after reading The Big Sleep, I just had to grab these classy covers before they were reissued.
Reworked from a screenplay – and it shows – written years before, Playback is my least favourite Marlowe novel. Although tersely written, and straight in with no preamble, I did enjoy the important details picked out by the detectives eye, making for a sparseness of description but one which brings the images given a rich authenticity.
Marlowe is a great character; cynical, intelligent, wary, hard, honest. He is the greatest strength of the novel, his realist attitude and devotion to what he does allows the reader sympathy with him, despite probably not always agreeing with his life choices. Continue reading “Playback – Raymond Chandler”