Raymond Chandler (1888-1959)

This is a site about author Raymond Chandler. Chandler's detective fiction is fast-paced, wisecracking and never disappoints. The man could write.

Chandler was born in Chicago. But, shortly after his birth, his parents split up. Chandler's mother moved to England to live with family, taking young Raymond with her. In 1912, Raymond Chandler moved back to the United States. From 1912 until 1922, Chandler held down some pretty varied jobs. He worked in journalism, apricot farming and tennis racket stringing before becoming a bookkeeper at Dabney oil syndicate near Los Angeles. Chandler rose quickly through the ranks at Dabney, becoming vice-president of the oil syndicate. But the syndicate fired Chandler in 1933 for drinking and repeatedly failing to show up for work.

Shortly after losing his job, Chandler began reading pulp-fiction mystery magazines. He saw writing for pulp magazines as a potential livelihood and diligently studied pulp stories. Borrowing money from friends, he set about writing. He worked on his first story, Blackmailers Don't Shoot, for five months. His efforts paid off.

In 1933, Black Mask, the premier mystery pulp-fiction magazine, published Blackmailers Don't Shoot. For the next several years, the pulps continued to publish Chandler's short stories. Then, in 1939, Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep, was published. The Big Sleep, introduced readers to Chandler's hard-boiled, quixotic and wisecracking protagonist, detective Philip Marlowe. In Marlowe, Chandler created an imitable prototype. Shades of Marlowe can be seen in virtually every detective character conceived by virtually every writer since Chandler.

After the publication of The Big Sleep, Chandler found steady work and critical acclaim as a novelist and screenwriter. But his problems with alcohol continued to plague him, and he was hospitalized for alcohol related illnesses several times before he died of pneumonia at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California in 1959.

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