“Guns never settle anything,” I said. “They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act.” – Phillip Marlowe, Playback
Raymond Chandler has a timeless style of writing prose. His words fly off the page just like you are watching a 1940’s humphrey bogart film. Philip Marlow is one of my all-time favorite detectives in fiction, both film and print. He is a flawed hero, with an insatiable drive to understand the truth, and a weakness for women with long legs in sheer stockings.
In Playback, Marlowe is hired by an unknown entity to tail a redhead (who goes by many names) of which he knows nothing about. After seeing her get leaned on by a two-bit blackmailer, he decides that he would like to help the redhead if he can. But as the story spirals into secrets, conspiracies, and murder, will she let him?
One of the things that I loved about this book is the Femme Fatale is impenetrable. It is impossible to decipher her motives and her actions. She flip flops between telling Marlow to get out of her life and suggesting they run away together.
The book is a quick read, coming in right around 50,000 words, it can be finished in a single rainy day. I am currently working my way through one of Raymond Chandler’s more well known books, The Big Sleep; so fingers crossed for more rainy days!