For me, Raymond Chandler is the greatest twentieth century writer - no ifs, ands or buts. Marlowe is the greatest, most intriguing detective, the model for so many inferior imitations - one could do worse than take him as a model of how to live life in a corrupt world
'I was neat, clean, shaved and sober and I didn't care who knew it.'
'I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.'
'She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.'
'You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you.'
'From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.'
'I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along that worked.'
'She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.'
'Then he picked the glass up and tasted it and sighed again and shook his head sideways with a half smile; the way a man does when you give him a drink and he needs it very badly and it is just right and the first swallow is like a peek into a cleaner, sunnier, brighter world.'
'California, the department-store state. The most of everything and the best of nothing.'