The Raymond Chandler revealed is a man troubled by loneliness and desertion from an early age. Born in Chicago in 1888, his childhood was overshadowed by the collapse of his parents' marriage, his father's alcohol-fuelled violence eventually forcing the boy and his doting mother to leave for Ireland and later London. But class-bound England proved stifling, and Chandler, in his twenties and eager to forge a new life, returned to the United States where—in corruption-ridden Los Angeles—he met his one great love, Cissy Pascal, a married woman eighteen years his senior.
It was only during middle age, after his alcoholism wrecked a lucrative career as an oilman, that Chandler seriously turned to crime fiction. And his legacy—the lonely, ambiguous world of Philip Marlowe—endures, compelling generations of crime writers to follow him.
In this long-awaited new biography, Tom Williams shadows one of the true literary giants of the twentieth century and considers how crime writing was raised to the level of art.