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Philip Marlowe books in order: the complete series

Looking for Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books in order? Look no further!

Raymond Chandler is a crime fiction writer like no other. For Chandler, writing is an art form and his Phillip Marlowe series is no exception.

A classic private eye, Marlowe is an articulate, witty, tough-talking detective who enjoys a good whiskey as much as he does solving the darkest crimes. Set in post-war Los Angeles, Marlowe captured the imaginations of millions and has endured through generations.

Chandler’s Marlowe series spans seven novels, all with the same poetic attention to detail and unmistakable style.

Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books in order:

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

1. The Big Sleep (1939)

Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by wheelchair-bound General Sternwood to discover who is blackmailing him. A broken, weary old man, Sternwood just wants Marlowe to make the problem go away.

However, with Sternwood’s two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA’s seedy backstreets, Marlowe’s got his work cut out. And that’s before he stumbles over the first corpse.

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

2. Farewell, My Lovely (1940)

Cynical Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe always falls for a sob story. Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married – until Malloy was framed for armed robbery. Now he’s out and he wants Velma back.

Marlowe meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe’s search for Velma turns up plenty of 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.

The High Window by Raymond Chandler

3. The High Window (1942)

Philip Marlowe’s on a case: his client, a dried-up husk of a woman, wants him to recover a rare gold coin called a Brasher Doubloon, missing from her late husband’s collection.

That’s the simple part. It becomes more complicated when Marlowe finds that everyone who handles the coin suffers a run of very bad luck: they always end up dead. That’s also unlucky for a PI, because leaving a trail of corpses around LA puts cops’ noses seriously out of joint. If Marlowe doesn’t wrap this one up fast, he’s going to end up either in jail or in a wooden box in the ground.

The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler

4. The Lady in the Lake (1943)

Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired to find a missing woman. Derace Kingsley’s wife ran away to Mexico to get a divorce and marry a hunk named Chris Lavery. Or so the note she left her husband says.

Trouble is, when Philip Marlowe asks Lavery about it he denies everything. But when Marlowe next encounters Lavery, he’s denying nothing – on account of the two bullet holes in his heart. Now Marlowe’s on the trail of a killer, who leads him out of smoggy Los Angeles all the way to a murky mountain lake…

The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler

5. The Little Sister (1949)

Philip Marlowe’s latest client is Orfamay Quest. She’s come all the way from Manhattan, Kansas, to find her missing brother Orrin. Or at least that’s what she tells Marlowe, offering him just twenty dollars for his trouble.

Feeling charitable, Marlowe accepts – though it’s not long before he wishes he hadn’t. Soon the trail leads to a succession of Hollywood starlets, uppity gangsters, suspicious cops and corpses with ice picks jammed into their necks…

The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler

6. The Long Good-bye (1953)

Down-and-out drunk Terry Lennox has a problem: his millionaire wife is dead and he needs to get out of LA fast. So he turns to his only friend in the world: private investigator Philip Marlowe.

He’s willing to help a man down on his luck, but later Lennox commits suicide in Mexico and things start to turn nasty. Marlowe is drawn into a sordid crowd of adulterers and alcoholics in LA’s Idle Valley, where the rich are suffering one big suntanned hangover. Marlowe is sure Lennox didn’t kill his wife, but how many more stiffs will turn up before he gets to the truth?

Playback by Raymond Chandler

7. Playback (1958)

Philip Marlowe is mixing business with pleasure – he’s getting paid to follow a lovely mysterious redhead called Eleanor King. And wherever Miss King goes, trouble is sure to follow. But she’s easy on the eye and Marlowe’s happy to do as he’s told.

But one dead body later and what started out as a lazy afternoon’s snooping soon becomes a deadly cocktail of blackmail, lies, mistaken identity – and murder.

Short story collections

Two of Raymond Chandler’s short story collections are currently in print:

Trouble Is My Business by Raymond Chandler

Trouble Is My Business (1939)

In the first of the four cases in Trouble is My Business, Philip Marlowe is offered a job that leaves a bad taste in the mouth: smearing a girl who’s ‘got her hooks into a rich man’s pup’. Before too long Marlowe’s up to his neck in corpses and cops and he’s taken pity on the girl. There’s nothing like making trouble out of your business…

Featuring ‘Trouble Is My Business’, ‘Finger Man’, ‘Goldfish’ and ‘Red Wind’.

Killer in the Rain by Raymond Chandler

Killer in the Rain (1964)

Set against a Southern Californian backdrop, these stories are rich with suspense, violence and tragedy, and each comes laced with booze, bullets and a detective with an eye for a damsel in distress and an even keener eye for justice.

Featuring ‘Killer in the Rain’, ‘The Man Who Liked Dogs’, ‘The Curtain’, ‘Try the Girl’, ‘Mandarin’s Jade’, ‘Bay City Blues’, ‘The Lady in the Lake’ and ‘No Crime in the Mountains’

There you have it – Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

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1 Comment

    It’s actually very good writing- Chandler is a master of ‘show, don’t tell’. If you don’t like it it’s because you don’t like the characters- that’s how well it’s written.

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