Nonfiction

by Tom Williams
Chicago Review Press, September 2013, $29.95

All three previous Raymond Chandler biographies, by Frank McShane (1976), Tom Hiney (1997), and Judith Freeman (2007), have their merits, but this newest effort should, at least for now, become the standard life. With its details of World War I, Los Angeles political corruption, and other historical events that affected Chandler, it’s more of a “life and times” than its predecessors. Often drawing on previously unpublished letters, the English author gives greater emphasis to Chandler’s early years in Britain and also offers more on the years following the death of his wife Cissy. All his works are described and analyzed, with the early pulp magazine stories better covered than in most other sources. His screenwriting career, including difficult collaborative relationships with Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock, gets a fresh and entertaining recounting. Many readers will want to drop everything else and immerse themselves in reading or rereading Chandler. (Reviewed from an advance proof copy. Illustrations were not seen, and I’m assured the non-functional index in the proof copy will be “completely corrected” in the final version.)

Jon L. Breen

All three previous Raymond Chandler biographies, by Frank McShane (1976), Tom Hiney (1997), and Judith Freeman (2007), have their merits, but this newest effort should, at least for now, become the standard life. With its details of World War I, Los Angeles political corruption, and other historical events that affected Chandler, it’s more of a “life and times” than its predecessors. Often drawing on previously unpublished letters, the English author gives greater emphasis to Chandler’s early years in Britain and also offers more on the years following the death of his wife Cissy. All his works are described and analyzed, with the early pulp magazine stories better covered than in most other sources. His screenwriting career, including difficult collaborative relationships with Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock, gets a fresh and entertaining recounting. Many readers will want to drop everything else and immerse themselves in reading or rereading Chandler. (Reviewed from an advance proof copy. Illustrations were not seen, and I’m assured the non-functional index in the proof copy will be “completely corrected” in the final version.)

Teri Duerr
3310

by Tom Williams
Chicago Review Press, September 2013, $29.95

Williams
September 2013
a-mysterious-something-in-the-light-the-life-of-raymond-chandler
29.95
Chicago Review Press