Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Simple Art of Short Detective Stories

Raymond Chandler's The Simple Art of Murder is a collection of short stories that he submitted over the years to pulp magazines and is prefaced with an essay he wrote for the Atlantic Monthly about mystery and detective stories. Almost all of the stories are "private eye" tales that take place in the Los Angeles area. They are chock-full of seedy musicians, sly broads, crooked cops and indecipherable slang -- and guns ... lots and lots of guns. Any reader would be hard-pressed to find a truly honest or wholesome character in one of these stories.

However, one story stood out -- Pearls Are a Nuisance -- in that the main character is quite different from any other of Chandler's creations. Walter Gage is an upstanding if somewhat trust-fundish citizen with an upper-crust vocabulary and a trusting nature. This is the one story with a true twist and a bit of heart and, frankly, the only one without a murder.

This is my final read for the Take a Chance Challenge. I took all ten chances! This was for the Random Word Challenge --
Go to this random word generator and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

My random word was "simple" and since we had this book in the house (technically, my husband bought it to read), I thought it would be a good choice. I've enjoyed Raymond Chandler's novels but these short stories really didn't do it for me. I couldn't read more than one in a row because they were too similar and, well, full of murder. The opening essay though was fantastic and I almost wish I had just read that.

Wanting to murder a certain genre,

Support our site and buy The Simple Art of Murder on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. LOL!!! I really wasn't going to comment on this post, but then I got to the end and read your sign-off and I couldn't pass that one up!!! Cracked me up!!

  2. Woo hoo! You finished the challenge! You rock! At least you didn't have to spend money on the book!