Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye was my first dive into noir, but it was immediately familiar to me. I grew up with all kinds of pop culture references to old school gangsters and private detectives. Ann Patchett actually recommended this book when I read This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She talks about Chandler’s chapter structure, so I was curious enough to read it right away.
As soon as I started the first chapter, Marlowe’s dark voice echoed out like every private eye ever to grace the silver screen. This comes from a time when dick still meant detective, and gangsters used nicknames like “shyster” and “cheapie.”
I enjoyed this whodunit quite a bit, although the end got a bit twisted and confusing. It definitely came to a different conclusion than I had drawn, and the complications came after what I thought was the climax. It was kind of a strange roller coaster. That was probably the point, though–it just wasn’t near as succinct as what we are used to in today’s fiction.
Maybe I just need to try out a few more noir novels to figure out their structure. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?