The Little Sister.

“She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight": First Edition of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister

The Little Sister.

CHANDLER, Raymond.


Item Number: 100041

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949.

First edition, first state, of Chandler’s fifth hard-boiled novel featuring his iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe. Octavo, original orange cloth. Fine in a very good price-clipped dust jacket. Dust jacket by Boris Artzybasheff.

To Raymond Chandler, whose novels helped define the hard-boiled novel, crime stories “belong ‘to a world gone wrong,’ but ‘down these mean streets a man must go who is himself not mean” (Bruccoli & Layman). Novelist Robert Parker said: “I learned to write from Raymond Chandler… The second paragraph of The Little Sister reads this way: ‘It was one of those clear, bright summer mornings we get in the early spring in California before the high fog sets in. The rains are over. The hills are still green and in the valley across the Hollywood Hills you can see snow on the high mountains. The fur stores are advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen-year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And in Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom…’ It is quintessential Chandler. The careful juxtaposition of things gives us both a visual and a moral sense of place. We are reminded of the green land where promise once abounded, and we are reminded of what’s become of it. We are also given a clear image of the kind of man we are meeting…” (Reilly, 286). It was the basis for the 1969 film titled Marlowe, starring James Garner.

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