The Big Sleep Book Review
Welcome to another Crawford’s Mysteries and More! Book Club Novel Review. Novels read in book club will fall into the following categories: Detective (crime is solved by a detective/police officer), Cozy (no violence), Caper (told from the criminal’s POV), and More (not strictly a mystery)! Mysteries will be reviewed based upon the crime taking place, the intrigue of the information that gets revealed, the relative success of red herrings, and the satisfaction of the ending.
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler is a Detective Mystery Novel. Written in 1939, it was Chandler’s first novel and the 1st book in a 7-book series in the Philip Marlowe protagonist canon. (Though, Robert B. Parker and others would continue the series after Chandler’s death). Chandler’s writing style feels like the 1930s and gives you images of black and white noir films. Marlowe is your classic tall, dark, and handsome detective, who’s sold as a little bit rugged on the outside but a good guy. Chandler is heralded as setting the standard for crime dramas, so perhaps we have Marlowe to thank for launching this character type into national consciousness and intrigue. The Big Sleep seems to have a simple plot—a detective gets hired to stop his client from being black-mailed—that resolves in the middle of the story. But suddenly you’re confronted with a labyrinth of Daedalus proportions, and as you chase the threads you have no time to wonder what kind of Minotaur will be waiting for you at the end. In a sense, I’d say the black-mail plot was the red herring, as you unpack how deep the maze goes and how all the characters are connected. It’s a 231-page story that feels like 150 pages. The ending is a jam-packed climax as you work out who the killer is and why. All told, I'd give the ending a 7/10.
Pick up your copy soon. The Big Sleep is Crawford's Books’ June Book Club pick. Grab your copy today and then join the virtual meeting on June 10, from 6:30-7:30pm.
Interested in what the Mysteries and More Book Club is reading? Check out past reviews and what’s on the horizon: 1/14 Magpie Murders, 2/11 The Henna Artist, 3/11 Mr. Mercedes, 4/8 And Justice There is None, 5/13 The Song of Achilles, 6/10 The Big Sleep, 7/8 The Ice Princess, 8/12 The Devil and the Dark Water, 9/9 A Duty to the Dead, 10/14 Long Bright River, 11/11 The Guest List, 12/ 9 American Dirt