On 23 July 1888, arguably the greatest crime fiction writer of all time was born in Chicago, Illinois. So, today we’re celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of one of the fathers of the genre we love. And with it we’ve got a quiz to win a Philip Marlowe bundle that includes the three classic books you see above.
Raymond Chandler spent his early years in Nebraska, but was the educated in England at one of the country’s top public schools, Dulwich College. After fighting in The Great War with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he returned to America, and embarked on a literary career. His defining creation was the philosophical but tough Private Eye, Philip Marlowe. Stylistically, Chandler laid down the template for successive generations of imitators, but he has never been surpassed.
Win three of Chandler’s greatest novels
To mark what would be Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday, we’ve come up with a quiz for you. If you figure out this little mystery, email in your answer.
First, using the clues below gather the 16 initials of characters in Chandler novels. Unscramble the letters and solve the puzzle with this cryptic clue. Thinking caps on…
“One of the most distinctive people that Marlowe ever met.”
Crossword style, the final answer is (7, 9). Here are the clues for the anagram letters:
1. The Big Sleep – the assistant in Geiger’s bookshop (1,1)
2. The Long Goodbye – the wife of the missing alcoholic writer (1,1)
3. The Little Sister – the gangster who appears in the photos with Mavis Weld (1)
4. The Long Goodbye – the chauffeur (1,1)
5. The High Window – first name of the wealthy widow (1)
6. The Big Sleep – first name of the crooked casino boss (1)
7. The Big Sleep – the Sternwoods’ butler (1)
8. The Little Sister – minor movie star and friend of Mavis Weld (1,1)
9. The Little Sister – little miss Quest (1)
10. The Big Sleep – Vivian’s married name (1)
11. Farewell My Lovely – the incompetent detective (1)
12. The Long Goodbye – first name of the missing writer (1)
How to enter
When you’ve figured it out, send your answer in an email headed ‘Raymond Chandler 125’ to the following email address: info <at> crimefictionlover.com. (Replace the <at> with @ – this is done to prevent spam.) Include your name and address. See the rules below.
About the prize
One lucky winner who has correctly solved answered our cryptic question will be sent the three following books:
The Long Goodbye – Marlowe enters the rarified world of writers and publishers. He is irresistably drawn into the world of Terry Lennox, a talented but drunken writer (many critics have judged that Lennox is an autobiographical imprint of Chandler himself). After engaging with the seamier side of Hollywood, Marlowe reaches a corpse-strewn, but ultimately just resolution to the affair.
Farewell My Lovely – This was published in 1940. Marlowe collides with the virtually unstoppable force of Moose Molloy, one of Chandler’s more unforgettable hoodlums. As Moose searches for his girlfriend, Velma Valento, in the low dives of the Los Angeles sub-culture, Marlowe struggles to maintain his equilibrium, but the novel does not end kindly for either Moose or Velma.
The Big Sleep – Rightly or wrongly, this is defined as Chandler’s masterpiece. Unforgettably filmed with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the leading roles, this novel contains more one-liners than almost any other book ever written. Marlowe is sucked into the hothouse atmosphere of the Sternwood family, and has to battle pornographers, mobsters, and the grip of organised crime on proud but vulnerable families.
Rules – because you have to have ’em
1) Enter as many times as you want. 2) We accept entries from anywhere in the world. 3) We will draw the winner at random from the entries containing the correct answer. 4) No cash alternative. 5) The competition closes for entries at 10pm Pacific Time on 23 July 2013. 6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Finally, good luck. Whether you win or not, keep following us on Twitter where we celebrate the birthdays of great authors, past and present, on a daily basis.