A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Raymond Chandler is an uncensored look at the tortured man who wrote the classic mystery novels The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye Using recently uncovered archival materials including personal papers and correspondence, biographer Thomas Hiney vividly evokes Chandler s early years in Nebraska, his education in England and on the corrupt streets of Los Angeles, and his later years as a novelist and screenwriter in the heyday of the Hollywood studio system Along the way, he provides illuminating insights into the writer s inspirations and work as well as accounts of Chandler s battles with alcohol addiction and his friendships with Howard Hawks, Lucky Luciano, S J Perelman, and Alfred Hitchcock This book is also the first to fully detail the significance and complexities of his thirty year marriage to Cissy, a woman seventeen years his senior Raymond Chandler is personal portrait of an author as extraordinary as the fiction he created a body of work that has sold than five million copies, been translated into twenty five languages, and inspired countless imitators A discerning portrait of the creator of Philip Marlowe, the archetypal American private eye Newsweek Well enough done to tell me what I wanted to know about his life Not particularly insightful. Tom Hiney has thoroughly catalogued the somewhat bizarre and troubled life of Raymond Chandler, who would become perhaps the most celebrated crime novelist of the Twentieth Century Chandler was born in the U.S in 1888, and educated in England Returning to the U.S., he found his way to Los Angeles where he became an oil company executive.Chandler s father abandoned his family when Raymond was a boy, and Raymond was raised thereafter by his mother with the help of relatives At an early age, he Tom Hiney has thoroughly catalogued the somewhat bizarre and troubled life of Raymond Chandler, who would become perhaps the most celebrated crime novelist of the Twentieth Century Chandler was born in the U.S in 1888, and educated in England Returning to the U.S., he found his way to Los Angeles where he became an oil company executive.Chandler s father abandoned his family when Raymond was a boy, and Raymond was raised thereafter by his mother with the help of relatives At an early age, he developed a serious problem with alcohol and throughout his life, he also had some very odd relationships with women, most especially, his wife of thirty one years, Cissy, who was seventeen years his senior He was often ill at ease in the company of others and spent long periods of time in seclusion, accompanied only by his beloved wife His best books were composed during these self imposed retreats.Chandler was ultimately fired from his job with the oil company when his drinking became too much of a problem, and he decided to become a full time writer He approached the problem systematically, studying the process of writing He wrote several short stories, principally for the pulp magazine, Black Mask, and then produced his first novel at the age of fifty He would ultimately produce several of the great crime novels of his or any other era, including The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, and The Long Goodbye He also became a very successful screenwriter and is doubtless best remembered for his work on Double Indemnity, which remains probably the most classic of American noir films.It took some time for the books to find a wide audience and for Chandler to earn the plaudits he was certainly due, and by the end of his life his behavior had become evenerratic as his drinking problem became evenpronounced He once told his doctor, one would hope in jest, that his daily consumption was moderate a bottle of Scotch, several cocktails doubles of course and various wines with his meals In the end, it would be his undoing, and Chandler died in 1959 at the age of seventy.Hiney describes all of this thoroughly and competently he also provides synopses of Chandler s novels, but the book falls a bit short in Hiney s analysis of all of this There s very little explanation of why Chandler might have behaved as he did and very little actual analysis of his work Those looking for a thorough record of Chandler s life will be well served with this book those expecting a bitwill likely be somewhat disappointed Reading this biography, I found myself coming to like Raymond Chandlerthan I thought I would.Through various articles I d read, I had come to the impression that Chandler the man was cantankerous, rude and nothing like Philip Marlowe The very public recollections of Billy Wilder probably helped form that opinion, as the two did really fall into a hate hate relationship with each other But the man I found in these pages seemed a kind and intelligent soul, devoted to his wife, who noneth Reading this biography, I found myself coming to like Raymond Chandlerthan I thought I would.Through various articles I d read, I had come to the impression that Chandler the man was cantankerous, rude and nothing like Philip Marlowe The very public recollections of Billy Wilder probably helped form that opinion, as the two did really fall into a hate hate relationship with each other But the man I found in these pages seemed a kind and intelligent soul, devoted to his wife, who nonetheless struggled with terrible alcoholism An addiction he couldn t quite bring himself to admit What sthere was a lot of Marlowe to him, there was the nobility, the jaundice eye and even the loneliness Chandler may have been a married man and not a perpetual bachelor, but he was still someone who cut himself off from the outside world, even as he craved it.This is a fine nuts and bolts biography which takes us through his life on both sides of the Atlantic, and the creation of his books and his legacy It made me want to curl up and read The BIG SLEEP to THE LONG GOODBYE all over again No,than that The write up that Hiney gives it actually makes me want to read PLAYBACK again.The wonderful Megan Abbott penned an article the other week about Chandler s problems with women in his novels Reading with a Twenty First Century eye, there may be issues relating to both gender and race, but even if that s the case I d never be able to divorce myself from loving these books His writing is brutal poetry and is still wedded to my soul after three dozen rereads Decent but not great bio on the great mystery writer One strength of the book is its detailed chapters on Chandler s writing process his first attempts at writing stories for pulp magazines, his early novels, and his work in Hollywood Not as interesting were the chapters on Chandler s depressing, alcohol drenched last decade of life, which Hines inexplicably devotes seemingly 1 3 of his book to.