Read Playback by Raymond Chandler Online


As Chandler's last novel opens, Philip Marlowe meets a well-endowed redhead as she disembarks from the Super Chief and leads him to the California coast to solve a tale of big money and, of course, murder."Chandler wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles with a romantic presence:" -- Ross Macdonald...

Title : Playback
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780394757667
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Playback Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-03-26 09:24

    I looked at her legs. It was only 10 in the morning but she had legs to look at. She had brought them into my office with her. Her legs looked at me but I never found out what they thought. She balanced all of next year’s expense account on her little finger and blew smoke over it. She was wearing the kind of perfume you could invade countries for. The rest of her was what your imagination wasn’t any use for any more. I’d had a tough night that day so I only looked in her right eye. She offered me a cigarette. She offered me a drink. She offered me the Pacific Ocean. She offered me ten different futures, in all of which I ended up at the bottom of a lift shaft with both feet at the wrong angle and no health insurance. I looked at her legs. They were probably a metaphor but I never read French novels. There was a guy in the sedan behind us. I turned right then right again on Ventura. Now he was only three cars back. Her legs looked at me. I unhooked her clothing. “You have to help me, Marlowe,” she said. She said, “You’re speeding, Marlowe, this is a residential zone and there’s a school somewhere round here.” Then she was naked and I poured all over her like moonlight. The sedan in the mirror was as subtle as a Nazi at a christening. I took a right then another right. He took a left and I was down on the floor, my jaw felt like Carnegie Hall after the 1812 Overture. He looked a lot taller from down there. But at least I could look at her legs without interruption. I was happy about that then all the lights went out.

  • Ian
    2019-03-27 10:43

    "A Little Quiet Fun At My Own Expense"The waiter set a glass down on the table in front of me. It was my sixth drink in an hour. I couldn’t even remember ordering it. I drank it. It seemed like the right thing to do. The waiter watched me put down the empty glass. “Another shot?” he asked. I nodded. “You’ll have to pay for this one.” I looked around the room in search of my benefactor. I saw her first, sitting alone at a nearby table, then I saw her legs. They didn’t look like any legs I had seen before. Then they moved. She could see I was watching them. She crossed her legs, and I hoped to die, but not straight away. She reached into her handbag and withdrew a packet of cigarettes. She flipped it open and put one in her mouth. Her lips glistened the whole time. Then she fumbled around in her bag for a lighter. She returned the bag to the chair beside her, empty-handed. She looked at me. I shrugged. I had given up smoking since my last novel, only I hadn’t told my author. There was much I hadn’t confided in him. The time had come to make some changes in my life. I didn’t move. I watched her mind working. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I wasn't sure whether she was my type. “Well…” She paused. She was improvising. It wasn’t something she was normally expected to do. My author usually made our decisions for us. “If you won’t light my cigarette, will you at least kiss me?” I ambled over to her table and sat down. But first she had another request:“Stop looking at my legs.” I did as I was told. I was hoping the effort would be rewarded. She returned her cigarette to the pack and put it back in her bag. I looked into her eyes. I could see nothing unless you want to count lust, or was that just a projection on my part? I wondered what she saw in my eyes. The same? I moved closer to her, and had another look. I clasped my hands around her face. Then I pulled her closer and kissed her. She licked her lips, inquisitively. “Christian Dior?” She asked. “Of course,” I replied. Her lips embarked on the most direct path towards mine. “Kiss me harder.” I did. She slipped her hand inside my blouse and squeezed my breast. Maybe I could like her after all.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-18 12:35

    Playback (Philip Marlowe, #7), Raymond Chandler Playback is a novel by Raymond Chandler, featuring the private detective Philip Marlowe. It was first published in Britain in July 1958; the US edition followed in October that year. Chandler died the following year; Playback is his last completed novel. At the beginning of 1952 (some 18 months after the parting of Marlowe and Linda Loring in The Long Goodbye). Marlowe is faced with the choice of turning against his client and taking up the cause of the subject he was hired to investigate, an attractive woman on the run with whom he eventually becomes emotionally entangled. Through intermediaries, an anonymous client hires Marlowe to find Betty Mayfield, who is traveling under the name Eleanor King. Marlowe trails Mayfield to the small coastal resort town of Esmeralda, California. ...تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پانزدهم ماه نوامبر سال 2008 میلادیعنوان: حق السکوت؛ نویسنده: ریموند چندلر؛ مترجم: احسان نوروزی؛ تهران، مروارید، 1385، در 220 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1386؛ شابک: 9789648838381؛ موضوع: داستانهای پلیسی از نویسندگان امریکایی - ماجراهای فلیپ مارلو - کتاب 7 - قرن 20 مرمان حق السکوت نوشته ریموند چندلر، آخرین رمان این پلیسی نویس بزرگ امریکایی است. خوانشگرانی که با فضای داستانهای این نویسنده و دغدغه ها و حرکتهای کارآگاه مشهورش «فلیپ مارلو» آشنا هستند، نیک میدانند که این کلیتها چندلر را به یکی از جریانهای مهم ادبیات پلیسی در قرن بیستم تبدیل کرده است. رمان حق السکوت ماجرای جذاب و پرهیجانی ست که باز هم کارآگاه پرآوازه چندلر یعنی فلیپ مارلو در مرکز آن قرار دارد. مارلو که از قضا در این رمان، خسته و کمی کسل به نظر میرسد، برای تعقیب یک زن ناشناس استخدام میشود و در جریان همین تعقیب است که میفهمد با پرونده و آدمهای پیچیده ای روبرو ست. ... ا. شربیانی

  • Evgeny
    2019-04-08 11:18

    Philip Marlowe is given a task of tailing a woman by a prominent lawyer. The job is so easy Marlowe begins to wonder who the woman is and why the tailing was necessary at all. This is the whole mystery in the book. If you do not want huge spoilers, do not read the book's blurb as it gives away the only mystery element present.The only redeeming quality of the book is its length: it is the shortest novel of the series. As I mentioned before the mystery part is practically non-existent, nothing worthy of notice happened and Marlowe was too busy sleeping with different women to do any kind of investigation. I wonder what would happen to the plot if his assignment was to put a tail on an ugly guy instead of a gorgeous woman.This is not a good end of the series and this is by far the worst Marlowe novel. It also has a typical super sweet Hollywood-type ending very uncommon for noir genre. I really need to stop here and search Google for the bitterest edible substance to get rid of the syrupy sweet taste of ending in my mouth. This review is a copy/pater of my BookLikes one:

  • kohey
    2019-04-19 10:30

    I guess my second or third reading. What makes Raymond Chandler so special for me is that nothing really happens,so I’m more deeply into narrative and characters,feel enchanted and read it again.This is a story of a certain mysterious woman and Marlowe with memorable wisecrack and a few corpses.Just a simple story.

  • Anthony Vacca
    2019-03-22 12:23

    Clocking in at a malnourished 166 pages (that’s two hundred pages less than the prosperously gutted masterpiece, The Long Goodbye) Playback is anything but the last, great Marlowe novel, and neither is it really a worthy swan song. But a Marlowe novel is a Marlowe novel is a Marlowe novel. This last time around, Marlowe gets railroaded into a job tailing a knockout redhead, which quickly turns into a muddled mystery involving blackmail, murder, gangsters, and a crappy tourist-trap town. Marlowe is his usual (though somewhat more distant than usual) self: he makes some great observations, sizes up scumbags in record time, does an awkward, self-loathing job at flirting, and beats the shit out of a guy with a tire iron. And yet while reading this book I couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness despite how slight this outing felt because this was it for me. The last Marlowe novel. So what’s next? I am going to give this night my best Marlowe impression. I’m going to start the evening off slow with some steady drinking until restlessness gets the better of me. Then I’m going to get in my car and wander the streets of my city, smoking more cigarettes than I should. Eventually I’ll see some bar that looks as good as any other bar, which is good enough for me. I’ll grab myself a stool in some shadowed corner and order that first drink, and then the next. If you see me there, hell, I’ll buy you a drink. We all need friends sometimes, even if it’s only for one night and the cost of a few drinks. We can’t be greedy in this life.

  • Brandon
    2019-04-12 10:22

    “Wherever I went, whatever I did, this was what I would come back to. A blank wall in a meaningless room in a meaningless house.”Philip Marlowe is tasked with tailing a young, rich and beautiful woman. The catch? He has no idea why and neither does the shady lawyer who hired him.That is about as short a summary as I’ve ever written, and I suppose that fits given this is the shortest of the Marlowe novels. I’ve heard from Chandler fans and through various reviews that although this was Chandler’s swan song (he died the year following its publication), it’s the most disappointing of the Marlowe books. Because of this, I’m not sure if I had lower than normal expectations going in but when it was all said and done and all the dust had settled, I was left with a feeling of satisfaction.While the plot in Playback might be the most straightforward of all the Marlowe tales, the strength of Chandler’s writing is front and center with such memorable lines as:“Me and you could get along,” Goble said indifferently, “if you had any brains.”“And if you had any manners and were six inches taller and had a different face and another name and didn’t act as if you thought you could lick your weight in frog spawn.”“Guns never settle anything,” I said. “They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act.”“Our eyes met across great gulfs of nothing.”I can’t get enough of Chandler’s writing; it’s so sharp and succinct.There are three non-Chandler Marlowe novels that follow Playback and while I'm cautiously optimistic, I have a feeling they won’t be able to recreate Chandler’s excellent prose. It’s one thing for a director/screenwriter to put his own spin on a character or a series in a remake of a classic film but when you’re trying to capture the essence of what makes the Marlowe character so memorable – the writing – I can imagine it being a challenging endeavour with a lot of risk and very little reward.Maybe a trip to Poodle Springs is in order.Also posted @ Every Read Thing.

  • David R. Dowdy
    2019-04-15 06:35

    "I'm old, tired, and full of no coffee."Ever reluctant at the outset, Philip Marlowe takes another case. Curiosity takes over once in and he hammers the nail. Cold and soft, the wire bends. He claws it and drives again. It feels through the oak fibers, goes in, progressively clinking, like a fist pounding a head.Knotty wood hooks the nail. It's gone far enough to join. Hammer the hook sideways until the head's a setting sun in the plank? Not for Marlowe. No, were going to do this right. Claw it back. Pull it out. Straighten it in a vice like it's the last nail, like it's the last bent, dried out cigarette and you're lying there in bed in the morning choking for a smoke.Hammer a fresh hole. Do it quick, your mouth in a snarl. Make it happen, no regrets.Marlowe knows and doesn't know women. They know what he wants. Hold on. Wait. Cut the action. It's always business before pleasure, sweetheart. Let's get the job done first. Those silk stockings reach up, two tall buildings rising to the fog. Ah, damn I'm horny. He knows bad guys, one who would "blackmail an infant in a cradle". He knows competitive operators who glom on his work, one who was "as adhesive as a Bandaid". He has time for them if something's to be learned. Respectful of authority and class, there's no time for power, even his payers. "This is Clyde Umney, the lawyer. I don't seem to have had any sort of satisfactory report from you. I'm not paying you to amuse yourself." "I have a suggestion to you, Mr. Umney. Why don't you go kiss a duck."There are no white suits or hats, not a cape(r) in his armoir. He would rather shoulder a pistol for effect than smoke it on a two-bit loser. He talks good. He doesn't want your money if he hasn't earned it.When the solution comes, he's got time for you, baby. "You're a dirty, low-down detective. Kiss me."

  • Mark
    2019-04-04 08:43

    Good grief. What a difference 18 months or so makes. I read The Big Sleep and i enjoyed it up to a point but found it a souffle overly egged on the 'witty and offbeat images' ingredient but this one, Playback, I absolutely loved. There is still the wit, the clever descriptions, the tension and mystery but it simply flowed for me more and perhaps i found Marlowe more attractive as a character. He seemed more human and if Chandler sometime strayed into dangerous territory in the prose stakes he inserted his tongue so firmly in his cheek that no-one, not even I, could miss the fun he was having at his own expense.Then she leaned back and gave me the look. 'I've got friends who could cut you down so small you'd need a step-ladder to put your shoes on.''Somebody did a lot of hard work on that one,'I said. 'But hard work's no substitute for talent.'The story is a contorted and confused one. Marlowe is given a job by an arrogant lawyer to follow a woman but he is not told why or for how long. His tailing of her involves his getting caught up in all sorts of shady and dislikeable characters. A corpse reported which then disappears, a suicide which remains unexplained, a woman who seems to change colours and manner with the wind and assorted larger than life hiss boo villains or incompetents make up a quick and enticing story. We see Marlowe encountering respect from unexpected quarters, advice and assistance from the habitually overlooked and we see him showing sympathy and a tenderness which is also unexpected.'Yeah' he sighed. 'You work twenty hours a day to buy a home together and by the time you have, fifteen other guys have been smooching your girl.''Not this one,' I said. 'She's just teasing you. She glows everytime she looks at you.'I went out and left them smiling at each other.That little excerpt summed up why I preferred this book to the previous one. In The Big Sleep I encountered a brash heavy, a slick talking cynic,; in this one I met a man who I actually genuinely found I was rooting for.I wolfed it down. I loved every page and the poignancy of the last chapter is really surprising. Hard-bitten private detective or not, in the last few chapters of the book Chandler lets us see this man's soul and his yearning. It is believable, he is decent and by the end I found myself punching the air in delight.Just to show the change; here is the other review. thanks to Steve who finally gave me the perfect idiot guide as to how to do this simple action !!

  • Mohammad Ali
    2019-04-02 08:38

    به نظرم از داستانای دیگه ای که از چندلر خوندم آبکی تر بود. البته اینم باید گفت که بعد از خوندن چند داستان دیگه تکرار اسلوب های واحد خسته کننده هم می شه. یه نکته هم هست که بعد از چندین بار مواجهه در اینجا و آنجای داستان های چندلر برای من آزارنده شده بود و اون اینکه زنها در آثار چندلر یا یه تختشون کمه یا لعبتن یا وحشی ان ( همون ایده ی فم فتل - زن مهلک ) یا ترکیبی از اینها. شخصیت های زن داستاناش چنگی به دل نمی زنن ترجمه ترجمه ترجمه ی متوسطیه ولی به هر حال روونه. اون چیزی که آدمو به تعجب می ندازه اشتباهات لپی زیاده - جاافتادن کلمات و جملات. کتاب سانسور هم شده - یکی در بخش سیزدهم به دلیل شرح یه رابطه و دیگری در بخش هجدهم که پیرمردی در مورد خدا حرف می زنه. البته در کل به نظرم کتاب خیلی با دست و دل بازی ترجمه شده و جاهایی که به نظر باید سانسور می شدن هستن در کتاببرای مثال به چند مورد از ترجمه های مشکل دار کتاب اشاره می کنمLarry Mitchell was about half an inch taller than I was but weighed about fifteen pounds less, at a rough guess. The man wasn’t born who could heave a hundred and seventy-five pound body over that railing and far enough out to fall into the oceanمترجم اینطوری ترجمه کردهلری میچل یکی دو سانت از من بلندتر بود ولی در عوض وزنم در بدترین حالت دست کم 5 کیلو کمتر از او بود. طرف آدمی نبود که بتواند هشتاد و دو کیلو وزن را از این نرده ها بالا بکشد و بیافتد داخل اقیانوستو اصل جمله اون کسی که وزنش کمتره لری میچله نه گوینده. "دست کم" هم ترجمه ی خوبی نیست چون در جمله ی اصلی صرفا به تقریبی بودن اشاره شده نه حداقل یا حداکثر. در ادامه ی جمله هم فاعل لری میچل نیست بلکه میگه کسی زاده نشده که فلان کارو بکنه - یعنی لری میچلو بلند کنه و بندازه پایین. کلا بخش آخر خلاصه تر هم شده چون در اصل هم بحث ارتفاع نرده است هم بحث فاصله ی افقی تا دریایا در جای دیگه نویسنده می گهShe had told me the truth about one thing, and about damned little elseو مترجم اینجوری جمله رو به فارسی برگرداندهراجع به یک چیز حقیقت را گفته بود بهم، این که به فلانش هم نیستحال آنکه جمله اصلی می گه او در مورد یک چیز حقیقت رو به من گفته بود، به علاوه ی چند چیز بی اهمیت کوفتی - یا در واقع در مورد هیچ چیز دیگهیا در جایی دیگر آمدهMilitary Intelligence is an expression which contains an interior fallacyو ترجمه شدهاداره ی اطلاعات نظامی از اون چیزاییه که یه لغزش بزرگ توشهمنظور نویسنده بازی با واژه ی اینتلیجنس به معنای هوشمندی و ذکاوته. طرف داره می گه نظامی گری و هوشمندی با هم در تضادن برای همین میلیتری اینتلیجنس یه چیز خودمتناقضهیکی از اشتباهاتی که زیاد تکرار شده ترجمه ی اشتباه اصطلاح "این ادونس" به معنی پیشاپیشه. مثلا در متن آمدهMrs. West might prefer to give him the money and have him pay the bill himself. But a week in advanceو ترجمه شدهشاید خانم وست ترجیح داده پول رو بهش بده تا اون به میچل پرداخت کنه؛ ولی از یه هفته قبل؟حال آنکه بحث از یه هفته قبل نیست بلکه بحث سر پرداخت پیشاپیش پول یک هفته ی هتله. این اشتباه مکرر در ترجمه رخ داده. در ضمن در این ترجمه آخر جمله ی اول هم مشکل داره نویسنده می گه خانم وست شاید ترجیح داده پول رو به [برندون] بده تا اون خودش قبض هتل رو پرداخت کنه - یعنی اصلا حرفی از میچل نیستو نمونه ی آخر این جملهUnless out of the long years and the long tensions, and in the present case, the abrupt certainty that what bullfighters call “the moment of truth” is hereکه ترجمه شدهتا اینکه بعد از سال ها، و در مورد پرونده ی فعلی بعد از کشمکش های فراوان، که باعث فروریختن قطعیت می شود، بالاخره زمانی فرا می رسد که گاوبازها "لحظه ی حقیقت" می نامندشنکته ی اول اینکه ترجمه ی "تا اینکه" درست نیست بلکه باید گفت "مگر اینکه". بعد اینکه "کشمکش های فراوان" و "سال ها" هر دو همراه هم اند و اینگونه نیست که اولی مربوط به "پرونده ی حاضر" باشد؛ آنچه به "پرونده ی حاضر" مربوط است بعدتر آمده. در ادامه مترجم ابراپت را به جای صفت فعل ترجمه کرده. خلاصه اینکه ترجمه ی درست این جمله در همان چارچوب این می شود: مگر پس از سال های طولانی و کشمکش های مفصل، و در مورد فعلی، به دلیل آن قطعیت ناگهانی مبنی بر اینکه [وقت] آنچه گاوبازان آن را لحظه ی حقیقت می نامند، فرا رسیدهخلاصه اینکه کتاب با یه ویرایش به ترجمه ی معقولی بدل می شه

  • Zack S.
    2019-04-13 13:35

    'Playback', Chandler's final completed novel and the follow-up to 'The Long Goodbye', is a novel that has managed to haunt me since I read it three years ago. The prose throttles me with its speed and economy, and in this novel, more than any of Chandler's others, I feel Marlowe's humanity.Marlowe is tired, and his sense of reality is breaking down. An example: he beds Miss Vermilyea, his client's secretary, then leaves her house wondering if anything happened. He calls after her down the hallway she just walked down and gets no response. He looks back at her house as he gets into a cab and it's completely dark. Vermilyea is never seen again - never mentioned again - even when Marlowe visits her employer's office.It's like the long years of dealing with shadowy figures cloaked by shadowy organizations has finally taken its toll; he's spent his life chasing after phantoms, and with nothing to grasp onto he's finally ready to quit. 'The Long Goodbye' was his breaking point, and Marlowe, now shattered, is failing to mend himself. He's lost his oldest colleague, his best friend and the love of his life; he is truly alone, and it shows.I think most of the backlash to this novel centers around its general apathy towards hardboiled conventions. There are few mean streets for Marlowe to walk down, no femme fatales for him to resist; there's remarkably little corruption in Esmeralda, and Marlowe ends up almost being a footnote for his total contribution to the mystery's resolution.But I don't think that's necessarily a fault of the novel. This is coming off of 'Long Goodbye', which is entirely literary fiction for its first 100 pages or so; Chandler was always reaching for more than rote recital of themes and patterns. He was projecting, perhaps, when he wrote this: "There are no 'classics' of crime and detection. Not one. Within its frame of reference, which is the only way it should be judged, a classic is a piece of writing which exhausts the possibilities of its form and can never be surpassed. No story or novel of mystery has done that yet. Few have come close. Which is one of the principal reasons why otherwise reasonable people continue to assault the citadel."'Playback' is not a classic, it is an attempt to give Marlowe the "quality of redemption" that Chandler talked about in the same essay. At the end of a long life of pain, Marlowe needed something to rest on, even if it was the delusion that Linda Loring had come back to him (was it a coincidence that, right at his quietest, emptiest despair, Loring gives him a call?). Chandler was giving Marlowe a final, emotional, humane resolution. If but for that reason alone, 'Playback' is for me a great novel.

  • Paul
    2019-04-06 11:26

    Well, that's me done with the Philip Marlowe books (I don't have any interest in reading the last one that was finished by a different author) and I had a really great time reading them.Before reading these, my ideas of hardboiled detective noir came almost entirely from film. Let's just say that now I've read the original blueprints I appreciate the genre all the more.This book is so short compared to the previous book, The Long Goodbye, it felt more like a short story or an epilogue to the series. That's not to say it isn't any good; I enjoyed it at least as much as the other books in the series I gave four stars. Cracking good stuff!

  • Amin
    2019-04-18 05:46

    کتاب رو نیمه‌تمام رها کردم و نتونستم دیگه ادامش بدم. ترجمه خیلی بد بود جوری که تقریبا هیچی از کتاب سر در نمی‌آوردم. جملات به هم ریخته، نا مربوط. انتظار می‌کشیدم که هر لحظه به جای بخش توضیحات وارد بخش مکالمات بشم که شاید یه چیزی دستگیرم بشه، اما اونجا هم اونقدر محو و بد بود که اعصابم رو خرد کرد. قبلا «خداحافظی طولانی» رو از چندلر خونده بودم که اونم گرچه ترجمه فوق‌العاده‌ای نداشت، اما روی هم رفته قابل تحمل بود. این بار با خودم فکر کردم شاید مشکل از نثر چندلر باشه. یه کم توی اینترنت چرخ زدم و بعد خوندن چندتا ریویو به این نتیجه رسیدم که نثر چندلر خاص هست، مترجم سعی کرده به اون نثر نزدیک بشه و نتونسته و نتیجه شده آش شله قلم کاری که حتی نتونستم تا آخر ادامش بدم.یک چیز دیگه هم لازمه بگم. دفعه‌ی بعدی که خواستم برم سراغ کارهای چندلر (اگر این اتفاق بیفته) مطمئنا سراغ ترجمه‌های فارسی نمی‌رم. چون کاراگاه مارلو شخصیت نسبتا سیاهی داره که خیلی از کارهاش و حتی دیالوگاش توی ترجمه‌ها سانسور میشه و این سانسورها اونقدر واضحه که توی ذوق میزنه.هیچ امتیازی به کتاب نمیدم، چون که نه تمومش کردم و نه درست حسابی چیزی دستگیرم شد ازش.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-04-05 07:27

    Not my favorite Chandler. Actually, my least favorite Chandler novel. However, since almost everything else he has written deserves to be carved on a tablet and made into an LA Noir religion, I guess saying this one doesn't rate well against his other masterpieces isn't saying THAT much.I think part of my disappointment with this novel is it just seems hard when it should be easy and easy when it should be hard. Maybe part of my problem with it was Chandler just seemed tired of L.A. and tired of Marlowe. He exports Marlowe into a new town (Esmerelda, aka La Jolla) but it all just doesn't work. I ended up not caring much about Marlowe or the dame or the book. Which is sad because I read most of this damn book sitting in a San Diego hotel's basement laundry. If there were EVER a place to enjoy Playback THAT would have been it. Alas, no.Anyway, if you are new to Chandler end here, don't start here. Go read:The Big Sleep (1939)Farewell, My Lovely(1940) The High Window (1942)The Lady in the Lake (1943)The Little Sister (1949)Trouble is my BusinessThe Long Goodbye(1953)Any of those will give you far more bang for your book.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-04-10 11:17

    Oh man, I've got a problem, this is the second Chandler in a row where I've been quite bored by the end.What starts off as pure Marlowe gold in his meeting with Ms Vermilyea manages to become dull, rushed and predictable by halfway. Sure the dialogue is great but everything else somehow falls flat in the convoluted mess of a plot.I'm so disappointed and exhausted from reading these 150 pages that I can't even fully form my thoughts in to interesting paragraphs.

  • Larry
    2019-03-31 10:43

    Chandler's last novel has defects in plotting, but not in writing. Philip Marlowe, the most influential of the early fictional private eyes, is hired to tail a good-looking redhead who seems to be on the lam. He isn't told much about the job by his stuffy employer, a lawyer named Clyde Umney (with a wonderful flashy secretary named Miss Vermilyea), but then Umney doesn't know much either. It soon becomes evident that the young woman is complicated and that she is being followed, and shaken down, by a another man. And the shakedown artist isn't the only follower. There's a fairly rough piece of work in the form of a private eye from Kansas City. And then there's a local big roller named Clark Brandon, who hails from somewhat murky and possibly criminal beginnings in KC.Marlowe dutifully and skillfully follows along, though it is possible that he may be a decoy, and meant to distract the young woman from her other tails. What is it about her past that leaves her open to blackmail? Why has she ended up in Esmeralda, a smug upscale California resort town? Why did she lay Marlowe out with a whiskey bottle while he was tussling with her blackmailer? And why does she offer Marlowe a sizeable chunk of money to get rid of a body? Things set up well, and they end well enough. What's disappointing is the path from the set-up to the ending. It gets both murky and obvious at the same time. Even so, Marlowe is always good, cyncical company, and the quality of the writing is top notch. (As an example, get this bit of dialogue:"Someone who loved me very much had put them a bag of ice cubes on the back of my head. Somebody who loved me less had bashed in the back of my skull. It could have been the same person. People have moods. (33)"

  • Ed
    2019-04-11 13:20

    Hey, it's Chandler, so he gets 5 stars, even if it's probably not the best of PI Marlowe. But we get to see different shades of him. Plus the writing has the usual fire power. Interesting minor characters give voice to Chandler's world view late in his life. Sad, poignant, and accessible. Loved it. Plan to read/re-read more titles soon.

  • William
    2019-04-19 05:37

    Sorry, full review was lost by GoodReads, again. 😥 This was written in 1957, after Chandler's suicide attempt. He was in despair from the death of his wife in 1954. In this book, Marlowe seems freer, or more mature, and the snappy dialogue with the female characters has more depth and humour. "There was a woman. She was rich. She thought she wanted to marry me. It wouldn’t have worked. I’ll probably never see her again. But I remember.” “Let’s go,” she said quietly. “And let’s leave the memory in charge. I only wish I had one worth remembering.” On the way down to the Cadillac I didn’t touch her either. She drove beautifully. When a woman is a really good driver she is just about perfect.The town from The Right Stuff?"He’s dead now—plane crash—he was a jet pilot. Happens all the time. I know a place between here and San Diego that is full of girls who were married to jet pilots when they were alive.”The Happy Bottom Riding Club was a dude ranch, restaurant, and hotel operated by aviator Pancho Barnes near Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley of California's Mojave Desert. Barnes and the club were both featured in Tom Wolfe's 1979 book, The Right Stuff, and the 1983 film adaptation.

  • Zohre Alavi
    2019-04-22 11:44

    روايت و زبان كتاب جذاب است. داستان فصل فصل است و من اين شيوه ي نوشتن را خيلي دوست دارم.شايد تا نيمه ي كتاب همچنان درگير اين بودم كه چه شده و كه راست ميگويد و اصل ماجرا چيست اما كم كم ماجرا باز مي شود و حتي خنده ام گرفت از كل اتفاقاتي كه من اصلا فكرش را هم نكرده بودم.پايانش خوب بود و جمله هاي به يادماندني هم كم نداشت. ترجمه ي آقاي نوروزي هم روان و قابل توجه است.

  • James Schubring
    2019-04-20 05:22

    There is no reason to review a Raymond Chandler novel. It's clear what you'll get before you open the cover: the lying dame, the P.I. slogging through lies, a few fights, a few dead men, perhaps a car chase.What is always wonderful and always surprising about a Chandler novel is the particular care taken with aspects of the language:"The next hour was three hours long." I've lived that hour before."A cheap sneaky job for people I didn't like." Such a clever way to describe the work of a P.I. (Such an accurate way to describe many of the jobs I've had over the years.)"Guns never settle anything," I said. "They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act." A comment perhaps on a lot of mystery writing, the way the plots are strung together?"What a lot of different girls you are." Soft and vulnerable, tough and aggressive. What a lot of people each one of us can be."Common sense always speaks too late." A book like this couldn't exist without late-arriving common sense."If you had any brains.""And if you had any manners and were six inches taller and had a different face and another name ad didn't act as if you thought you could lick your weight in frog spawn."Chandler excels in the putdown.An old man in a hotel lobby: "I shall go on being useless and inquisitive.""A man who lives on women always blackmails them." Oops, I gave some of the plot away."Talking gives me an opportunity to study people without seeming altogether rude." Another gem from the old man in the hotel."How can such a hard man be so gentle?" "If I wasn't hard, I wouldn't be alive. If I couldn't be gentle, I wouldn't deserve to be alive." The tender moment when Marlowe saws more than he thinks.Okay, that's just a few of the treasures in this short novel. Pick it and see what you can find that appeals to you. It's worth the time.

  • An Odd1
    2019-04-03 11:33

    5* for now, to remind me to try more. California 1950s had hats, spats, gloves, garters, hankies; some things, like PBX, phone switchboard intercom, no longer exist. The dated setting and phrasing are major to the charm of Chandler. I like humorous expressions. "The next hour was three hours long." Hard-boiled shamus Philip Marlowe is hired by unknown bigwigs back East to tail classy Eleanor King from the Super Chief train. He overhears sleazy Larry Mitchell blackmail the dusky-red-wavy-haired beauty as Betty Mayfield, but no explanation why. Besides Marlowe, Betty attracts new suitor, handsome rich Clark Brandon, polite owner of hotel, restaurant, much of the small resort town. Guns, disappearance, and murder deepen the mystery of Chandler's last case. Apparently from earlier in the series, hotstuff Marlowe misses rich Linda Loring in Paris, but he still makes time with any handy dame. Pudgy Goble from Kansas trails them, threatens, but doesn't explain either. Out-of-towner solves Betty's identity, but Marlowe has to guess where other troubles came from. Chandler seems to think Marlowe is a hero if he refuses money from everyone. Spoilers:Marlowe saves Goble mid-beating from hired gun red-head Richard Harvest (why happen in Marlowe's motel cottage?). Mitchell's car found abandoned, unreliable witness to his departure hanged. Finally Betty's father-in-law Henry Kinsolving shows up from North Carolina, claiming she murdered his son. Honest local police Captain Alessandro runs him off. Since Goble and Brandon are both from Kansas, Marlowe links them. Since Mitchell was a vile criminal, Marlowe just confronts Brandon for the truth, no arrest. Typos: p10 I didn't meant that (mean)p13 toying with coffee and a snail (Can you guess? fingernail, snack, ...?)

  • Aditya
    2019-03-30 09:35

    Mini ReviewEasily the weakest of the Marlowe novels but still a damn fine read. The book is not so much of an affront to the Marlowe legacy as it is a victim of expectation. As a follow up to The Little Sister (one of the best mystery books) and The Long Goodbye (one of the best books period) everything about Playback seems like a regression. The mystery is less engaging, the writing less consistent, the characters less rounded. The cynical wit of the previous book is substituted in places for juvenile humor but in spite of all that it never comes close to going off the rails. Because age and fatigue might have left Chandler weary but every now and then the brilliant wordplay that is the heart and soul of the series shines through to grab the reader.The Long Goodbye would have been the perfect closure but noirs don't do perfection. A gritty, garbled goodbye for the greatest gumshoe of all seems more apt. So instead of begrudging a less than stellar but still sound entry to a series which never strayed far from greatness, I would like to remember Playback for still being than better than what most authors would write on their best days. Rating - 4/5.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-10 05:42

    I've read three Chandlers so far (also The Lady In The Lake and The Big Sleep) and I have to say this was my favourite. The plot, as such, is a little ramshackle and the *big secret* the main dame carries might not be something to shout about, but the prose seems darker than ever and there are slices of almost existential brilliance which left me breathless. If anything, this was more real, more hit-and-miss which real life is all about. The only puzzle is that my edition has a cover shot of a parrot which appears briefly and inconsequently in the novel!A short, fast read that crackles relentlessly. Highly recommended.

  • Charles
    2019-04-14 08:44

    I've been working my way through the Philip Marlowe stories I managed to neglect. This is the last of the stories written by Chandler. It was written based on an unproduced screenplay from the early 1950's.This book is copyrighted in 1958 and story-wise set in 1953. It was published after the author's death. It is some distance in style from Little Sister (my review) the last Marlowe I read. That book was copyrighted in 1949. Prose is good. Dialog about the same in quality as the descriptive prose. However, while being technically more polished than its predecessors, its a lot blander. "When a woman is a really good driver she is just about perfect." is the highest it rises. Marlowe is cast as being more introspective, but it does not ring true to me. The character's trademark badinage is almost non-existant. When it does occur, its not as snappy. Finally, the author's signature use of similes and metaphor is much reduced. When they appear, they're rather tired. This story is a slender 150-pages. Even at this modest page count there were several inexplicable scenes. These could have seen the ax, making this a short story. Characters are standard for a Chandler story, and have since become arch-types for the hard-boiled genre. There is the: tough cop, club owner, the obligatory femme Fatale, the decoy 'bad girl', etc.. However, character development is not deep. I frankly never understood the Betty Mayfield character, who was the center of the action. Interestingly, returned veterans, of which Marlowe is not, are written in a favorable light. This is the first story in the series that I can recall where Marlowe has sex with any of the women who throw themselves at him. I didn't find the vague description of the event to be interesting or greatly imaginative. From a modern perspective, I noticed there was no concern about birth control by the participants. Frankly, the stories were better when he was saving himself. Plot is standard Chandler. Although, there is only a single plot line in this story. The author attempts to distract the reader through a liberal use of red herrings. Characteristically, Chandler resorts to a somewhat lengthy expository narration at the end to ensure the reader leaves getting it. The story also ends peculiarly with Marlowe getting together with the Linda Loring character from The Long Goodbye. I assume they're supposed to find happiness together?This story is 65 years old and post WWII. It counts as good historical fiction. However, I find the post-war setting of the story to be less interesting than the pre-war Marlowe stories I've read. I suspect its because I'm more familiar with the period. There was a lot more media produced post-war, with much of it still in circulation. For example, in previous stories the slangy dialog was sometimes impenetrable. Here, I knew what a "moocher" was. I didn't like this story. It too obviously showed its screenplay roots. There was none of the previous stories plot complexity. In addition, everything was wrapped-up nicely in the end. It felt like it was made for a less sophisticated TV than I'm accustomed.Having read this, I'm tempted to re-read The Long Goodbye. I'd like to try to recapture some of the 'old Marlowe'. Readers interested in the later works by Chandler should checkoutChandler: Later Novels and Other Writingsby Raymond Chandler, Frank MacShane (Editor)(my review).

  • Joel Lacivita
    2019-04-09 11:28

    Chandler truly was a master! I've now read every one of his novels and found them all to be fantastic. This was the shortest and the last one he wrote. Because it is only 160 pages, the mystery unravels very quickly and has a smaller amount of characters but Chandler still delivers an incredible story and outstanding prose. Marlow is hired to find a girl that has gone missing and presumably on the run but he finds a whole lot more. It's filled with all the usual hard boiled bad guys and crass but decadent women. My favorite thing about Chandler is his great observations on the twisted world we live in and this book has plenty. Its kind of depressing that he wrote only 7 novels and there are no more to read and nor will there every be any. I'm sure at some point I'll go back and read some of my favorites because he's become part of my psyche. I'll have to say the long goodbye. "I opened a couple of windows and mixed a drink in the kitchen. I sat down on the couch and stared at the wall. Wherever I went, whatever I did, this was what I would come back to. A blank wall in a meaningless room in a meaningless house" ---Raymond Chandler

  • David Mcangus
    2019-04-17 12:45

    Considering the circumstances, I found Playback to be a satisfactory end to my time with Marlowe. It's different to the previous works, in that the plot really is rather irrelevant here. Personally I'd make the argument this is the case with all of Chandler's work, but here it is glaring. What we receive instead is Marlowe's existentialist wanderings. Is he going to be a P.I forever? Is he ever going to allow other people into his life? He's a somewhat broken man in Playback, and after The Long Goodbye this made sense while reading. Even a hard-boiled guy has to cool off at some point or he's never going to find his place in the world, and I think that's where Marlowe is in this story.If you have read the other novels in the series, I think there's a lot to be gained here and I would recommend giving it a go.

  • Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
    2019-04-12 12:43

    The last, and definitely the least, of Chandler's novels. Some of those ice-pick similes and that spiky wit is still on display, but the plot unravels a little too easily at the end and Marlowe is a bit of a sexual goon this time around. His musings on women get pretty sexist and the dialogue put in the mouths of female characters in the many sex scenes (considerably less explicit than what you'd find in, say, James Hadley Chase, thankfully) is frankly egregious. This one is more for the completist than the novice.

  • Gerry
    2019-03-26 11:20

    Lawyer Clive Umney wakens Marlowe, much to his annoyance, in the early morning and instructs him to follow one of the passengers off the eight o'clock Chicago train.He discovers her name is Eleanor King, a beautiful, classy and claerly unhappy lady. He discovers she is using an alias and is being blackmailed and in trying to sort the problem out he comes up against gangsters, hard men and a hitman ... but in true Marlowe style he overcomes all adversity and saves the day and, of course, the lady.An abridged version of the tale performed by the BBC Radio 4 full-cast.

  • John
    2019-04-15 13:39

    The series has to be read in order, both because Marlowe is mellower here than his initial hard-boiled persona, as well as that the ending needs the plot of the previous book for context. Much of the action is set between Los Angeles and San Diego, so I found it truly fascinating passing through that exact area on the train as I listened.Ray Porter's narration is an excellent choice for these stories.

  • Peter Brice
    2019-03-23 12:23

    Frankly, there's not a lot of point reviewing this: if you've read Raymond Chandler, you know exactly what to expect (and Playback doesn't disappoint); if you haven't read Chandler, what the hell are you waiting for?