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Summary

Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married - until someone framed Malloy for armed robbery. Now his stretch is up and he wants Velma back.

PI Philip Marlow meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help him. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe's search for Velma turns up plenty of dangerous gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later. And soon what started as a search for a missing person becomes a matter of life and death....

Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and moved to England with his family when he was 12. He attended Dulwich College, Alma Mater to some of the 20th century’s most renowned writers. Returning to America in 1912, he settled in California, worked in a number of jobs, and later married.

It was during the Depression era that he seriously turned his hand to writing and his first published story appeared in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1933, followed six years later by his first novel. The Big Sleep introduced the world to Philip Marlowe, the often imitated but never-bettered hard-boiled private investigator. It is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand – and under the influence of Raymond Chandler's addictive prose that every crime author must write.

©1940 Raymond Chandler (P)2014 Audible, Ltd.

Critic reviews

"Anything Chandler writes about grips the mind from the first sentence." ( Daily Telegraph)
"One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards others still try to attain." ( Sunday Times)
"Chandler is an original stylist, creator of a character as immortal as Sherlock Holmes." (Anthony Burgess)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic detective series, perfect narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of Farewell My Lovely to be better than the print version?

The Chandler stories are classic detective fiction, the origin of the private eye tropes we all know today. The narrator, Ray Porter, for the Audible recordings is absolutely PERFECT for reading Chandler - wonderful gruff, smoky American accent and can change his voice enough to distinguish the different characters' dialogue.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you like Chandler, you'll LOVE this performance

Completely brilliant on every count. The all-time classic genre-defining detective novel, and perhaps the best narration I've ever heard of any book ever here on Audible. Ray Porter delivers Chandler's glittering prose with style and panache. The voice and accent for every character is distinct and completely believable: listening was a joy from beginning to end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Marlow still alive at story's end - amazing!

Alcohol consumption, attitude to women and level of violence don't ring true, but a well crafted story which moves to unexpected places.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Marlowe brought back to life

I listened to the Big Sleep first and thought it brilliant but this was even better. I'd forgotten quite how good a writer Raymond Chandler was and this is one of his best. Wonderfully descriptive prose that you don't often find in detective novels and the sardonic wit of Marlowe shining through with one-liners that Wodehouse would have been proud of. And allied to that, fantastic narration by Ray Porter, easily the best-sounding Marlowe since the great Humphrey Bogart and with a huge range of authentic voices to bring it all to life. All in all the best audio book I've bought in ages. Give it a listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Farewell my lovley

Just what you would expect from Raymond Chandler, Classic Marlow,
Great storytelling by Ray Porter.

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another amazing Ray Chandler novel

if possible I liked this even more than the big sleep, the ending was sad and fitting for the era set, it's not until you read this that you realise how often this plot is replicated

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Great

The smooth elegance of Chandler's style reminds me of a cool drink at the end of a long, hot day. Some of the terms and ideas are a bit out of step, but it all flows so well. I chose this after rereading The Big Sleep

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Favourite Marlowe story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Gripping story, some fantastic hard-boiled lines, great narration.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything - being about a (fictional) different time and place, it is proper escapism.

What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Really good narration, he just brings the story to life. He even manages to make all the female voices distinct and not like pantomime dames.

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A classic!

Hasn't aged at all. Cliffhanger. Keeps you wanting to see what happens next. An unexpected end!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Chandler

This second in Chandlers hardboiled series of books is easy reading as always.

the Big sleep is slightly better, but if you enjoyed it you'll enjoy this.

it's all read and a satisfying yet not epic length.

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  • Ian C Robertson
  • 21-10-15

A Fond Farewell

This is a fabulous yarn and one can readily see how it cemented Chandler's place in the Pantheon of of the noir genre, a genre that he was creating, defining and championing as his own with each book that he had published. It is possibly my favourite Chandler, but they're each so good, it's hard to pick from among most of them. I think the reasons I am partial to this one are that, in addition to Marlowe (wiseguy with wisecracks), the femmes are so fatale, the nasties are so dispicable and the writing is so tight, that it is almost a blueprint for the imitators. They try so hard, and mostly fail, to reproduce its dangerous charm and magic.
As for Ray Porter, see my review of "The Big Sleep". He has Marlow down.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 15-11-17

I FELT LIKE AN AMPUTATED LEG

FUNNY, REMIND ME TO LAUGH ON MY DAY OFF
Philip Marlowe IS A HARD BOILED GENTLEMAN. He hangs around women whose PRETTY WAS, ASSEMBLY LINE PRETTY. For two hours I felt entertained and was enjoying this perfect example of Noir. The plot itself never took hold and once the newness wore off, my mind wondered. When it comes to this genre, I am more of a James M. Cain guy.

Ray Porter nailed the performance as expected.

50 of 58 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • 02-08-15

In the bedroom of noir I haven't read many better.

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

There is reason Chandler is part of my Hardboiled Crime Trinity (Cain, Hammett, Chandler). This novel was perfect in pace, pitch, and plot. Sometimes you wonder if he is going to make a stretched metaphor stick, and he nails it just to spite you. This might not be a five-star novel in the house of novels, but in the bedroom of noir I haven't read many better.

37 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 29-06-17

Hard Boiled Humor, Hard-Boiled Empathy

When I open a Raymond Chandler novel, I expect Phillip Marlowe to get hit on the head at least once. I expect there to be a woman involved, a woman who Marlowe, though attracted to her, has nothing to do with beyond the case at hand. And I expect a lot of superbly rendered detail, striking imagery and memorable ways of putting things (like, “he was about as nervous as a brick wall”).

What I don’t expect is to laugh out loud. Here’s Marlowe trying to lure a woman to his place:

“I’d show you my etching.”

“Just one etching?”

“It’s just a single apartment.”

I am now familiar with three of Chandler’s seven novels: The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of audiobook deals, I started with The Long Goodbye, his second to last and written with tremendous difficulty during his wife’s illness and death. It’s a book that reflects the circumstances of its composition, right down to the author character attempting suicide. The Big Sleep, written first, is superbly crafted but I don’t remember guffawing much. Farewell, his second book, had me in stitches.

Not that this isn’t a dark novel on somber themes. Murder, small town corruption and the perpetual inability of “the little guy” to ever make it are not the stuff of comedy:

“…a guy can’t stay honest of he wants to…you gotta play the game dirty or you don’t eat.”

But underneath the hard-boiled cynicism there glints Marlowe’s wit, expressed in his dialogue as well as his narration—and expressed perfectly in Ray Porter’s near-flawless performance.

Another unexpected element in this book is the note of forbearance and even forgiveness. The character who spoke the words quoted above (an out-of-work cop, sidelined by small-town corruption) also urges Marlowe to remember that the people he’s after are human beings, too. Even one of the crooked cops, when alone, urges forbearance to others.

Finally, as with all of Chandler’s work, the plot is secondary to characters, dialogue, and ambience. "[M]y whole career” he wrote, “is based on the idea that the formula doesn't matter, the thing that counts is what you do with the formula; that is to say, it is a matter of style."

So, unlike standard detective stories, there is no finale with all the loose ends neatly tied up. Instead, through the voice of the nice girl Marlowe isn’t interested in, Chandler ridicules such scenes: “You ought to have given a dinner party…gleaming silver and crystal, bright, crisp linen…the servants hovering discreetly with the wrapped bottles of wine, the cops looking a little uncomfortable in their hired evening clothes, as who the hell wouldn’t? The suspects with their brittle smiles and restless hands, and you at the head of the long table, telling all about it, little by little, with your charming light smile and a phony English accent like Philo Vance.” (Chandler hated Hollywood, too.)

I admit I sometimes miss that kind of ending; Chandler’s way is less satisfying. But then I remind myself that his way is far truer to life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruth Ann
  • 08-08-15

Whoa! Not PC but awesome 40's mystery!

If you could sum up Farewell My Lovely in three words, what would they be?

He loved her.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Farewell My Lovely?

I would have to say the book's climax but then I'm not likely to give that away.

What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator does a great job bringing Mr. Marlowe and various other characters to life--even the female characters. I had no problem distinguishing one from another.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

He loved her...

Any additional comments?

Giving a heads up to those easily offended. This was a fun little mystery with great narration but it is a book of its time and place, hard boiled 1940 LA. I learned some new slang as well as some new racial slurs--well, at least they were new to me. If that's likely to bother you, you might wanna skip this one. That said, I liked "Farewell My Lovely" so well, I nearly finished it in one listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave Bach
  • 11-07-15

Chandler upped the ante

This is a masterpiece. As distinct as "a tarantula on a slice of angel food". While The Big Sleep is a classic, it is pretty obvious from beginning that FML is step up in both writing and performance.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Larry
  • 06-06-15

Slow it Down! It plays better at 1/2 speed!

This is my favorite Chandler book and I was really excited when it came out as an unabridged audio book. Ray Porter read this book like he was in a hurry to finish it, which is the last thing you want to be when reading Ray Chandler. However I decided to slow it down and played it at 1/2 speed and it was just about the right speed. It was an enjoyable experience at half speed. If you do download this book, set your device to play it at half speed and you will enjoy it a whole lot more. Ray Porter's performance is actually good if you slow it way down.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin Kehoe
  • 26-02-15

Iffy characterization for Marlowe

The narrator didn't play Marlowe as hard-boiled as I'd like, though his other voices did well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • J.C.D.
  • 04-08-15

REAL OLD-FASHIONED PI

If you could sum up Farewell My Lovely in three words, what would they be?

HARD HEADED INVESTIGATOR

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

As expected; however, all loose ends were tied up at one time.

What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

He was excellent. He had the timing and rhythm of the tough PI.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I couldn't.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Riverwood
  • 07-05-15

Great story, clumsy narration.

Would you try another book from Raymond Chandler and/or Ray Porter?

Chandler is great. I've read them all. It's nice to have an unabridged version.

What did you like best about this story?

Chandler was a master of the metaphor, so much so its become cliche for detective stories. But somehow Chandler's prose still holds up.

Did Ray Porter do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Its annoying how he mispronounces Riordan wrong. Its 'Rear-don' not 'Ree-oh-din.'
It would be an easy fix just to replace all the lines with the name 'Riordan' in it.
Really irritating.

His Marlowe is ok but I would've been happier if he didn't even attempt a female voice. It always sounds like Monty Python skit or a bad female impersonator.

Was Farewell My Lovely worth the listening time?

I'm glad they made it and the narrator is mostly fine.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful