I’ve been on a bit of a crime fiction spree lately, reading the classics of the genre from Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series to Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (review to come). Although I’ve seen all the classic Philip Marlowe movies, I’ve actually never read any of Chandler’s books. Having read this one, I can see what all the fuss is about. Raymond Chandler has a unique way with language, crafting long, drawn-out, intensely visual similes. The Big Sleep was laugh out loud funny in places, poignant in others. Yes, Philip Marlowe is sexist, racist and homophobic, but he’s also a bruised romantic and the moments when his cynical mask slips and reveals the hurt underneath are almost unbearably heartbreaking. Good stuff.