The Annotated Big Sleep

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Raymond Chandler’s original 1939 novel The Big Sleep has long been recognized as one of the classic hard-boiled detective novels. Following the principled PI Philip Marlowe as he makes his way through the seedy underbelly of 1930s Los Angeles, looking for a millionaire’s missing son-in-law, readers are soon immersed in a troubling and mysterious world of glamor, blackmail, corruption, and greed. As the questions and bodies keep piling up, will Marlowe and his morals survive?

While Chandler’s novel is obviously the product of a particular time period, it remains an outstanding detective story, and Chandler’s unique similes and snappy dialogue are clear high points. The annotations that are new to this edition, however, provide incredibly helpful context and commentary, both historically in terms of Los Angeles at the time and in terms of The Big Sleep as a work of literature. Using pictures, maps, and footnotes that discuss everything from Romantic literature’s influence on Chandler to 1930s gangster slang, the annotations enhance the experience of reading the novel by helping readers unlock the novel’s many layers and influences. On its own, The Big Sleep is certainly compelling, but this annotated edition makes an already fascinating novel even more worthwhile.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Raymond Chandler • Owen Hill, Editor • Pamela Jackson, Editor • Anthony Rizzuto, Editor
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 512 pages
Publisher Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Publish Date 2018-Jul-17
ISBN 9780804168885
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2018
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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