Ninety-Nine Novels: The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler
In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess’s interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess’s list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
In this episode, we’re donning our snap-brim fedoras and trench-coats to investigate The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler with our special guest, biographer Tom Williams.
The Long Good-bye is Raymond Chandler’s sixth novel, and features the further adventures of his most famous creation, private detective Philip Marlowe. After being contacted by his friend, Terry Lennox, Marlowe finds himself embroiled in the aftermath of the murder of Lennox’s wife, Sylvia. Seemingly an open-and-shut case, the mystery surrounding her death grows, and Marlowe traverses Los Angeles in search of answers from a range of oddballs and criminals.
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and grew up in Ireland and London. He worked as a civil servant and a journalist in London. In 1912 he returned to America. He introduced the world to Philip Marlowe in his 1939 novel The Big Sleep, and six further novels. He died in 1959.
Tom Williams is a biographer and writer. He was born in Newcastle and read English at University College in London. He has worked in publishing and publishing technology and, in 2012, wrote A Mysterious Something in the Light: A Biography of Raymond Chandler. He currently lives in Washington DC.
Books mentioned in this episode
By Raymond Chandler:
- The Big Sleep (1939)
- Farewell My Lovely (1940)
- Playback (1958)
- Poodle Springs (with Robert B. Parker, 1989)
Philip Marlowe Novels:
- The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black/John Banville (2014)
- Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (2018)
- The Goodbye Coast by Joe Ide (2022)
- The Perry Mason Series by Erle Stanley Gardner (1933-73)
- Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (1939)
- The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (1949)
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
- Collected Poems by TS Eliot (1963)
- Cocksure by Mordecai Richler (1968)
- Bomber by Len Deighton (1970)
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)
- The Inspector Rebus Series by Ian Rankin (1987-2022)
- Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (1997)
- Christine Falls by Benjamin Black/John Banville (2006)
- The Slough House/Jackson Lamb Series by Mick Herron (2010-22)
- The Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling (2013-22)
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In Series One and Two of Ninety-Nine Novels, we learnt about authors including James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Iris Murdoch, Ian Fleming and William Golding, among others. These episodes are available at your favourite place to get podcasts.
You can join the conversation and tell us which 100th book you would add to Burgess’s list by using the hashtag #99Novels on Twitter.
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The theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.