Publication Date: July 7th, 2018

My Rating: 5 Stars

Why Read It: The first fully annotated edition of this classic American Crime Noir, first published in 1939. Packed with notes and photographs.

Capsule Review: Is there any crime fiction aficionado out there who doesn’t know the classic story of the iconic Philip Marlowe, private eye, hired by the millionaire General Sternwood to find the persons blackmailing his daughter for certain indiscreet photos. The bodies pile up, the atmosphere steams, the sinister characters connive, slither and plot – and sometimes wind up dead.

Is there any crime noir film buff who isn’t familiar with the classic film, the Big Sleep. released in 1946 and starring the greatest Hollywood couple of of them all: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall ( She missed her only chance for an Oscar just several years ago, which I thought was awfully stingy of the Hollywood film community. One of the great legends of American film.)

Bogie/Marlowe with the young Carmen Sternwood

My Comments: I’ve engaged in a bit of hyperbole by calling The Big Sleep, Annotated Edition, THE best crime novel of 2018, but I do think it ranks with the top ten of the year. The notes are extensive, including comments from author, Raymond Chandler himself, editorial remarks, quotes from book and film critics of the past, and most importantly, many photos taken from the era, including shots of 1930’s LA, guns and booze in vogue at the time, notorious LA gangsters. Taken all together, these additions form a master class in crime writing. I found they enriched the reading experience enormously and I learned from them so much about crafting crime fiction.

Notes on the Mobi and Epub editions: I have both the kindle mobi edition and an epub edition, which I’m reading on the app, Read Era. Unfortunately, the kindle version for some reason, doesn’t include the photogralphs, of which there are many, and the format of the notes is clumsy indeed. For reasons that escape me, the epub edition is vastly superior, with everything included and easy to access – and click back and forth between bottom of the page notes and end of chapter notes.

Publisher’s Blurb:

The first fully annotated edition of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 classic The Big Sleep features hundreds of illuminating notes and images alongside the full text of the novel and is an essential addition to any crime fiction fan’s library. 

A masterpiece of noir, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep helped to define a genre. Today it remains one of the most celebrated and stylish novels of the twentieth century. This comprehensive, annotated edition offers a fascinating look behind the scenes of the novel, bringing the gritty and seductive world of Chandler’s iconic private eye Philip Marlowe to life. The Annotated Big Sleep solidifies the novel’s position as one of the great works of American fiction andwill surprise and enthrall Chandler’s biggest fans.

-Personal letters and source texts
-The historical context of Chandler’s Los Angeles, including maps and images
-Film stills and art from the early pulps 
-An analysis of class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in the novel

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