Poodle Springs

Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler & Robert B. Parker

Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler & Robert B. Parker

Marlowe has married into money – or has he?  Not content to be a “kept husband”, Marlowe sets up shop in the swanky California town of Poodle Springs, much to the displeasure of his new wife.  It isn’t long until Marlowe is hired to track down a man who happens to owe his bookie a cool one hundred grand.  Can Marlowe close the case or will his marital life prove too much of a distraction?

Raymond Chandler wrote four chapters of a new Marlowe novel before he tragically passed away following a bout with pneumonia.  The manuscript sat for years before acclaimed mystery novelist (and admitted fan) Robert B. Parker picked it up, dusted it off, finished it and dubbed it “Poodle Springs”.

Having never read Parker’s work before, I’m not sure I can comment on whether or not he was the right choice.  However, I have heard folks say that Parker’s early Detective Spenser novels appear to be heavily influenced by Chandler.  Parker certainly nails the twists and turns that are synonymous with a Marlowe novel but he came up short in the I-hate-the-world-and-everyone-in-it department that Chandler worked so well within.  Sure, the similes are there but they’re not as funny nor as inventive and Marlowe wasn’t quite as mean as I would have liked.

The bottom line is that Parker is not Chandler and while I’m sure Parker is well aware of that, maybe it would have been best to let sleeping dogs lie.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against authors picking up a character and trying to put their own spin on it (where would Batman be today if Frank Miller hadn’t put his own spin on The Dark Knight in the 80s?), maybe Marlowe would be one character that should be left in the past.

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