The Raymond Chandler revealed is a man troubled by loneliness and desertion from an early age. Born in Chicago in 1888, his childhood was overshadowed by the collapse of his parentsÃ¢ÂÂ marriage, his fatherÃ¢ÂÂs alcohol-fuelled violence eventually forcing the boy and his doting mother to leave for Ireland and later London. But class-bound England proved stifling, and Chandler, in his twenties and eager to forge a new life, returned to the United States whereÃ¢ÂÂin corruption-ridden Los AngelesÃ¢ÂÂhe met his one great love, Cissy Pascal, a married woman eighteen years his senior.
It was only during middle age, after his alcoholism wrecked a lucrative career as an oilman, that Chandler seriously turned to crime fiction. And his legacyÃ¢ÂÂthe lonely, ambiguous world of Philip MarloweÃ¢ÂÂendures, compelling generations of crime writers to follow him.
In this long-awaited new biography, Tom Williams shadows one of the true literary giants of the twentieth century and considers how crime writing was raised to the level of art.