Writing The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep was Raymond Chandler’s first novel and introduced his hero Philip Marlowe to the world. It was published in 1939 by Knopf in the United States and Hamish Hamilton in the UnitedKingdom. It was largely written the year before when Chandler and his wife Cissy were in Pine Knot, a small village close to Big Bear Lake.
Black-Eyed Blonde, the new Philip Marlowe novel, is scheduled to be released early next spring. John Banville is currently publicising his new Benjamin Black novel Holy Orders and, understandably, interviewers are asking him about Philip Marlowe and Raymond Chandler.
In this interview on RTE he talks a bit more about the experience of getting into Raymond Chandler’s head (listen from 1 hour 15 minutes in). It appears that the book is finished and John Banville is pleased with it so it won’t be long now before we get to judge it for ourselves.
Black Eyed Blonde
It was announced last year that John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black, would produce a new Philip Marlowe mystery. The details at the time were thin on the ground: the publisher in the US was to be Henry Holt and it would be released sometime in the autumn was about it. We now have a title, The Black-Eyed Blonde, and a revised release date, March 2014. You can see the Amazon page here.
I wrote a blog post for the Guardian which was broadly supportive. I still think John Banville is a great choice to tackle Philip Marlowe though judgement should be reserved until the book is actually published.
The title was one of several potential pulp titles listed in Chandler’s notebooks. It has been used before, as the title of an authorised short story by Benjamin M. Schutz in Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe: A Centennial Celebration, and, perhaps more interestingly, by Erle Stanley Gardner as the title for one of his Perry Mason stories. Since Gardner and Chandler were great friends it is possible that the Chandler suggested the title to Gardner. There is no mention of it in the correspondence I have read but Ray and Cissy were occasional visitors to the Gardner ranch and perhaps, over a coffee or a whisky, the title was mentioned. We will never know, of course. Gardner’s book is long out of print so it seems, for now at least, Chandler will be associated with the title once again.
I’ve just finished going through the proofs of the US edition of A Mysterious Something In The Light: The Life of Raymond Chandler and it looks great. Continue reading
On the 17th April 2013 I’ll be in Glasgow giving a talk about Raymond Chander at the Aye Write! Festival. If you’re around, do please come along. Tickets are £8 and you can book them here.
The Guardian Professional network asked me to write a piece about self-publishing. You can read it here
I’m pleased to say that Raymond Chandler: A Mysterious Something In The Light is to be published in America in Autumn 2013 by Chicago Review Press. They’re a wonderful publisher and I’m very excited to be working with them. It also gives me a chance to add a couple of recent discoveries to the book too.
I’ll post again once I have a publication date.
I’ve been inspired by some much more creative Pinteresters recently to create a Pinterest board loosely based around A Mysterious Something In The Light. Check it out here.
An interesting piece appeared in the Sunday Times this week about cyberwills. You can read the original article here (there’s a paywall) but, in brief, the piece discussed how different people are choosing to deal with their cyber legacy. One option is a cyberwill, a service run by Cirrus Legacy, that will release all your passwords on your death to a nominated executor. It is their job to delete, edit or archive your digital legacy as they see fit (or, perhaps, as you direct them).
Rather like Sony, Heineken and Omega I am jumping on the Bond bandwagon. Skyfall, which you can hardly of missed if you’re in Britain, is the latest in the Bond franchise and it’s very, very good. Along with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes stars in the film as Gareth Mallory, chief of the intelligence committee. It’s a surname that may ring a bell for Chandler fans because Mallory was the name of Raymond Chandler’s first detective (from his 1933 story ‘Blackmailers Don’t Shoot’). Continue reading