Sunday, November 3, 2019

Atmospheric Pressure: The Big Sleep at Eighty

If an octogenarian Big Sleep is a shocking thought, consider that Chandler was already fifty-one when his vanguard mystery saw light of day. Chicago-born but taken young to Victorian London, he’d packed an English public school education along with an interest in poetics, and re-crossed the Atlantic before the First World War. He was in his mid-twenties then, in need of a future, and—taking the long view—the move back worked out for him. Chandler learned book-keeping, went to war himself, made and then unmade himself as a California oil executive (the unmaking just one consequence of testing seriously high on alcohol for most of a lifetime). Finally, down and out of a job in Depression-era LA, he turned to pulp writing. Not as a slumming poet, but as a man eyeing a craft he thought he could learn. Only get the hang of it and the pulp magazines were paying out a penny a word.

read more by Janet Roger @ CrimeReads

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