I love fictional detectives. They are so tough and clever. Of all the tough and clever detectives out there, Philip Marlow is the toughest and the cleverest. I mean, check out this description:
“I need a man good-looking enough to pick up a dame who has a sense of class, but he’s got to be tough enough to swap punches with a power shovel. I need a guy who can act like a bar lizard and backchat like Fred Allen, only better, and get hit on the head with a beer truck and think some cutie in the leg-line topped him with a breadstick”
“It’s a cinch,” I said. “You need the New York Yankees, Robert Donat, and the Yacht Club Boys.”
“You might do,” Anna said. (From Trouble is My Business)
Wowza! I mean, what a dreamboat!
I fell in love with Raymond Chandler’s detective when I was in high school. When I was in college I would use the above description as a stand in for what I was looking for in a man. And I named my couldn’t-be-killed houseplant Marlow in the great Shamus’s honor.
I was actually disappointed when I finally saw The Big Sleep because I didn’t think Humphrey Bogart was handsome enough to play the part! I mean, Humphrey Bogart can’t swamp punches with a power shovel.
In addition to being a dreamboat, Philip Marlow is also pretty great at solving mysteries, recovering stolen property, and finding lost dames.
If you have never read Raymond Chandler before, I recommend starting with the short story collection, Trouble is My Business. Then you have to read The Big Sleep, because it’s the famous one and it’s really good. And then, now that you are fully in love with both Philip Marlow and Raymond Chandler, you read The Long Goodbye which is a perfect detective novel.