December 16, 2017
Philip Marlowe's Bad IdeaOn this day in 1958, Raymond Chandler began his last novel, the never-completed (by him) Poodle Springs. This was Chandler's name for Palm Springs, where "every third elegant creature you see has at least one poodle," and where Philip Marlowe had chosen to settle down with his new wife, the socialite Linda Loring. Chandler envisioned this unlikely scenario as "a running fight interspersed with amorous interludes," but he lost interest in the idea after a few chapters and set it aside. At this point Chandler was in the last stages of a five-year alcoholic tailspin brought on by the death of his own wife after thirty years of marriage, and not interested in much; in a few months he too was dead, at the age of seventy. The novel was completed by Robert B. Parker and published in 1989.
Marlowe shared a night with Loring in The Long Goodbye, and should have known better: "I watched the cab out of sight. I went back up the stairs and into the bedroom and pulled the bed to pieces and remade it. There was a long dark hair on one of the pillows. There was a lump of lead at the pit of my stomach...." Still, the hair which Linda Loring left on the pillow was not blonde:
(The Long Goodbye)According to Joyce Carol Oates, Marlowe the family man was doomed by genre-gender. In a 1995 essay in The New York Review of Books she wonders why love and kids won't stick to the gumshoe:
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