The first fully annotated edition of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 classic The Big Sleep features hundreds of notes and images alongside the full text of the novel and is an essential addition to any crime fiction fan’s library.
Detective Philip Marlowe must find out who’s putting the squeeze on General Sternwood’s thumb-sucking nympho daughter and, if it’s not too much trouble, locate the general’s vamoosed son-in-law. But by the time Marlowe has negotiated all the molls and gambling addicts and blackmailers and pornographers and crooked cops and trigger-happy gunmen who populate this SoCal wonderland, a first-time reader may well have lost the plot’s thread ... There is no shame in that: Chandler lost it, too. But Big Sleep annotators Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson and Anthony Rizzuto argue persuasively that Chandler’s indifference to story is not just negligence but a deliberate subversion of the classic mystery-puzzle template.
Philip Marlowe, is an 'archetypal wisecracking, world-weary private detective who now occupies a permanent place in the American imagination.' His narrative style, featuring slang-filled dialogue, a panning 'camera eye' approach to scene description, and hyperbolic similes, is much admired and imitated. His depiction of Los Angeles in the 1930s and ’40s, furthermore, cast the city 'in some ways as the other major character in the Philip Marlowe novels.' ... The Annotated Big Sleep is a terrific addition to your crime fiction library.
Any dedicated student of The Big Sleep might feel that they know the implications of all the bits of symbolism Chandler packs into each scene – for example, the stained glass panel in the Sternwood mansion showing a knight in armor rescuing a half-naked lady tied to a tree. Marlowe ruminates about this image, deciding that the knight doesn’t seem to be trying hard enough to free her, leaving the implication hanging: Is the knight savoring the predicament, or does Marlowe think he would do a more efficient job if he were in the situation? ... They’ve been worked like a master sculptor working a block of marble. The page where that little sister from hell, Carmen Sternwood, enters, has at least one annotation per line ... This is an awesome tribute to an awesome book. If you’re not interested, listen, pal, you can just drift.