The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Houghton Mifflin, 1939; 234 pages)
When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are hiding in the shadows of Chandler's first Marlowe mystery. Ross Macdonald famously wrote of Chandler: "Chandler [writes] like a slumming angel and invests the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence." There's never been another crime writer quite as brilliant as Chandler, or another detective quite like Marlowe.
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Recommended by: Greg