The High Window by Raymond Chandler
This is the third of Chandler’s novels featuring hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe, and the first that I hadn’t previously read as a kid. As a result I was coming to this book with an almost entirely fresh perspective. Nor was I disappointed.
The High Window comes across as a much less convoluted story than the first two books, and we get a glimpse at Marlowe’s sympathetic side when he takes an interest in the novel’s damsel in distress. That said, we still get to see plenty of sass from the wise-cracking shamus as he goes on the trail of a missing coin, almost literally tripping over dead bodies along the way.
Compared to the previous two books Chandler seems to have found his feet with this one, and I personally found his writing style more refined and more confident. The story seemed to flow more readily, and encounters that initially appear to be random and unconnected to the main case soon turn out to be deliberate and very much connected. By the end of the book the gal’s been saved, the coin’s been found, and even if not all of the killers are brought to justice, the whole mess has been wrapped up in a very neat bow by our hero.
Out of the three Marlowe books I’ve read so far I would certainly count this as my favourite, and based on this would probably recommend it as the first one to read for anyone unfamiliar with Chandler’s work.