Farewell, My Lovely
- for the play see Farewell, My Lovely (play).
|Farewell, My Lovely|
First edition cover
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Media type||Print (paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.52 19|
|LC Classification||PS3505.H3224 F3 1988/1940|
|Preceded by||The Big Sleep|
|Followed by||The High Window|
Plot summary 
Private detective Philip Marlowe is investigating a dead-end case when he sees a felon, Moose Malloy, barging into a nightclub looking for his ex-girlfriend Velma Valento. The club has changed owners and is now owned by and run for African Americans only so no one there knows her. Malloy ends up killing the manager and escaping. Due to the racism prevalent in Los Angeles at the time the murder of a black man is a low priority for the police and is given to a detective called Nulty who has a reputation for laziness and incompetence. Marlowe advises Nulty to look for Malloy's girlfriend but Nulty would rather not work that hard, preferring to rely on the fact that Malloy sticks out in a crowd due to his size and loud clothes. Nulty does encourage Marlowe to look for the girl though, telling him "You been in jams with us boys before... Next time it ain't doing you any harm to have a pal." Marlowe decides to follow up and look for the girl, partly because he could use some good will with the LAPD and partly because he hasn't had a real case for a while and "even a no charge job was a change."
He tracks down the widow of the former owner, who claims Malloy's girl friend was a girl named Velma but that Velma is dead. But Marlowe catches her hiding a photo of someone he assumes is Velma. Marlowe receives a call from a man named Lindsay Marriott, who says his friend was robbed of a rare necklace. He is delivering the ransom payment that night, and wants help. Marlowe is suspicious, but agrees to ride along. They go to a deserted canyon for the drop-off and Marlowe gets out and waits in the dark. No one shows, but when he returns to the car, he is hit on the head from behind. When he awakes, Marriott is lying on the ground dead. A passerby named Anne Riordan drives by and takes him home.
The police are wary of Marlowe’s story but let him go. Anne Riordan visits him and tells him she is from Bay City, that she is a policeman's daughter with an interest in local crime. She says she learned the rare necklace belongs to a Mrs. Lewin Lockridge Grayle, wife of a wealthy elderly man. She promises to meet Mrs. Grayle and get her to hire Marlowe to find the necklace. Marlowe examines some marijuana cigarettes he found on Marriott’s body and discovers a card for a psychic named Jules Amthor. He makes an appointment to see him. On a hunch, he investigates the club owner’s widow and learns her house is paid for by Marriott.
Marlowe visits Mrs. Grayle but she is more interested in coming on to him than finding her necklace. He then visits Amthor in his office, and probes for his connection to Marriott and the drugs. Amthor dismisses his questions, then has him assaulted by a native American thug who is his assistant. Marlowe is then thrown out by two crooked policemen, who lock him up in a private hospital. He escapes, but on the way out sees Malloy sitting freely in another room. He discusses the case with Anne Riordan and the police, who are annoyed at his continued involvement. They suspect Marriott of blackmailing wealthy women, in league with Amthor. Marriott hid the cards inside the drugs to implicate Amthor if he were found dead, but they doubt Amthor is the killer. Marlowe investigates the crooked cops and learns they were essentially unwitting dupes for Amthor, who thought Marlowe was trying to blackmail him. The hospital is an unrelated front for dope peddling and hiding fugitives.
Marlowe now suspects Malloy moved to a hideout on a local gambling boat. He sneaks on board, and despite being caught by the gangster owner, manages to get him to pass a message through his criminal network to Malloy. Back home, Mrs. Grayle wants to see him, so he invites her over. Malloy shows up first, and Marlowe hints he knows what Malloy has been trying to find out. Mrs. Grayle arrives and Malloy hides. Marlowe confronts her: she is Velma and had used Marriott to help conceal her new identity. He bought off the club owner’s widow for her, but when Malloy and Marlowe began looking for her, she needed to cut all her past ties. She tricked Marriott into going to the canyon so she could kill him, but killing Marlowe too would have been too risky. Malloy steps out and Velma shoots him fatally, then flees. Amthor, the hospital owner, and the crooked cops are all exposed to the law. Velma is eventually tracked down in Baltimore and kills herself.
Farewell, My Lovely, like many of Chandler's novels, was written by what he called cannibalizing previous short stories —taking previously written short stories and altering them to fit together as a novel. In this case the three stories were "Try the Girl", "Mandarin's Jade", and "The Man Who Liked Dogs".
"Try the Girl" provided the initial story about a hoodlum looking for his old girlfriend who has moved on to a more respectable life. "Mandarin's Jade" was the basis for the middle sections about a jewel theft which may or may not have actually happened, the murder of a blackmailer, and a corrupt psychic who works with a crime ring. "The Man Who Liked Dogs" provided the final part, where the detective is looking for a criminal and his search ultimately takes him to a gambling boat anchored off the Los Angeles coast line out of reach of the local law.
In all of the initial stories, the criminals and motives are clearly explained by the end. However, as Chandler adapted and integrated the stories—which were originally written completely independently—he cared more about the style of writing and the characters than about making sure every plot point fit together with complete consistency and lucidity. As he said of his work: "my whole career is based on the idea that the formula doesn't matter, the thing that counts is what you do with the formula; that is to say, it is a matter of style."
Film adaptations 
Although written after The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely was the first Marlowe story to be filmed. In 1942, The Falcon Takes Over, a 65 minute film, the third in the Falcon series of films revolving around Michael Arlen's gentleman sleuth Gay Lawrence (played by George Sanders), used the plot of Farewell, My Lovely, with Lawrence substituted for Marlowe. Purists[who?] agree that fitting the two rather different characters of Marlowe and Lawrence into one seems absurd from today's point of view; however, in 1942, Marlowe was not yet a household word, not yet a fictional character people would immediately recognize, and so at the time many of his habits would not have been known to cinemagoers.
In 1944, Dick Powell played the part of the hard-boiled detective in a classic film noir which was alternatively entitled Murder, My Sweet and Farewell, My Lovely— two years before Humphrey Bogart was offered the role of Philip Marlowe in 1946 for The Big Sleep. Thirty years later, Robert Mitchum starred in a remake of Farewell, My Lovely, again playing the tough private eye.
|The Falcon Takes Over||Murder, My Sweet||Farewell, My Lovely|
|Year of release||1942||1944||1975|
|Director||Irving Reis||Edward Dmytryk||Dick Richards|
|Screenwriter||Lynn Root and Frank Fenton||John Paxton||David Zelag Goodman|
|Setting||New York||Los Angeles||Los Angeles|
|Philip Marlowe||George Sanders (as "Gay Lawrence")||Dick Powell||Robert Mitchum|
|Helen Grayle||Helen Gilbert (as "Diana Kenyon")||Claire Trevor||Charlotte Rampling|
|Moose Malloy||Ward Bond||Mike Mazurki||Jack O'Halloran|
|Mr. Grayle||—||Miles Mander||Jim Thompson|
|Lindsay Marriott||Hans Conried||Douglas Walton||John O'Leary|
Radio adaptations 
The novel was adapted on BBC Radio 4 by Bill Morrison, directed by John Tydeman and broadcast on 22 September 1988 starring Ed Bishop as Marlowe. BBC Radio 4, as part of its Classic Chandler series, also broadcast on 19 February 2011 a dramatic adaptation by Robin Brooks, with Toby Stephens as the hardboiled detective.
Cultural references 
In the first shot after the opening titles of Get Carter, Michael Caine is seen reading a paperback copy of the book. In the opening episode of the television series Bored to Death, Jason Schwartzman's character Jonathan Ames is inspired to become a private detective after reading the book.
The novel's title was used as the subtitle in the Japanese version of the video game Sakura Wars V but this reference was lost during translation process.
- Bruccoli, Matthew J., Raymond Chandler: A Descriptive Bibliography, Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh, 1979.
- McShane, Frank (1976). The Life of Raymond Chandler. London: Jonathon Cape. p. 64.
- Usborne, Simon (September 24, 2009). "Hit & Run: Meet the Jonathans". The Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved October 18, 2009.