Farewell, My Lovely

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This article is about the novel. For the film adaptation that was released in the U.K. with the same title, see Murder, My Sweet. For the film from 1975 starring Robert Mitchum, see Farewell, My Lovely (1975 film).
Farewell, My Lovely
RaymondChandler FarewellMyLovely.jpg
First edition cover
Author Raymond Chandler
Country United States
Language English
Genre Crime novel, hardboiled, noir fiction
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date
1940
Media type Print
ISBN 0-394-75827-7
OCLC 256294215
813/.52 19
LC Class PS3505.H3224 F3 1988/1940
Preceded by The Big Sleep
Followed by The High Window

Farewell, My Lovely is a 1940 novel by Raymond Chandler, the second novel he wrote featuring Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe. It was adapted for the screen three times, and also for the stage and radio.

Plot summary[edit]

Private detective Philip Marlowe is investigating a dead-end missing person case when he sees a felon, Moose Malloy, barging into a nightclub called Florian's looking for his ex-girlfriend Velma Valento. The club has changed owners, so no one now there knows her. Malloy ends up killing the black owner of the club and escaping. The murder case is assigned to Lt. Nulty, a lazy, unmotivated LAPD detective who has no interest in the murder of a black man. Marlowe advises Nulty to look for Malloy's girlfriend but Nulty prefers to let Marlowe do the routine leg work and rely on finding Malloy based on his huge size and loud clothes. Marlowe decides to follow up and look for the girl.

He tracks down Mrs. Jessie Florian, the widow of the nightclub's former owner and plies her with bourbon. Mrs. Florian claims Malloy's girlfriend is dead. Before making further progress, Marlowe receives a call from a man named Lindsay Marriott, who claims his friend has been robbed and requests Marlowe's presence in delivering a ransom payment for stolen jewelry. Later that evening, in a deserted canyon, Marlowe waits in the dark and is hit on the head from behind. When he awakes, Marriott is dead. A lovely passerby, Anne Riordan, finds him and takes him home.

Lt. Randall, the cunning but honest LAPD cop investigating Marriott's murder, is skeptical about the story. At Marlowe's office, Anne explains that she is from Bay City, a policeman's daughter interested in local crime. Her father was cashiered by the corrupt cops running the Bay City PD. She tells Marlowe that she learned from Randall that the stolen necklace belongs to a Mrs. Lewin Lockridge Grayle, the young wife of a wealthy and influential Bay City resident. Mrs. Grayle is a ravishing blonde whom Grayle met when she was singing for the radio station he owned. She married him in Europe under an assumed name to keep her background secret. Anne offers to have her 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 Mrs. Florian's house and discovers Marriott held a trust deed on it, meaning he could foreclose on her at will. Following up with Mrs. Florian, she reveals she was once a servant for Marriott's family and Marlowe suspects she was somehow blackmailing him. Marlowe visits Mrs. Grayle, who finds him attractive and hires him, which he can use as an excuse to continue investigating the two murders. They make a date to meet again at the club of a local hoodlum, Laird Brunette, near the spot where Marriott was killed.

At Amthor's office Marlowe probes him for his connection to Marriott and the drugs. Amthor calls in a pair of Bay City detectives out of their jurisdiction to arrest Marlowe, claiming Marlowe tried to blackmail him, but instead of taking him to jail they knock him unconscious and lock him up in a private hospital run by Dr. Sonderborg, a drug dealer, who keeps him docile with drug injections. He escapes but on the way out he sees Malloy in another room. He discusses the case with Randall, who is annoyed at his persistence in investigating the case. They suspect Marriott of blackmailing wealthy women, in league with Amthor, and return to Mrs. Florian's, only to find her murdered, apparently shaken to death by Moose Malloy.

Because of the involvement of the Bay City cops Amthor called in, Marlowe visits the corrupt Bay City police chief, John Wax, who brushes him off until Marlowe mentions that he's been hired by Mrs. Grayle. Marlowe is then told that Malloy may be hiding out on a gambling boat anchored beyond the three-mile limit and run by Brunette, who also controls the corrupt city government in Bay City. He sneaks on board with the help of Red Norgaard, another honest cop fired by Bay City, and despite being caught by Brunette, persuades him to pass a message through his criminal network to Malloy.

Marlowe calls Mrs. Grayle, ostensibly to have her pick him up at his apartment for their date. Malloy, responding to Marlowe's message, shows up first and hides when Mrs. Grayle arrives. Marlowe confronts her: she is Velma and had used Marriott to keep Mrs. Florian in line after she recognized Velma's voice on Grayle's radio station. Marriott had worked as an announcer at the same station and was blackmailing Velma. Mrs. Grayle convinced Marriott to set up Marlowe to be killed in the canyon, but actually did so to kill Marriott. She had also informed on Malloy about the robbery that sent him to prison. When Malloy hears this, he steps out to confront Velma, who shoots him fatally and flees. Amthor, Sonderborg, and the crooked cops are all exposed; Red gets his job back. Velma flees, but when she is eventually tracked down in Baltimore, she kills the detective who recognizes her and commits suicide when cornered.

Background[edit]

Farewell, My Lovely, like many of Chandler's novels, was written by what he called cannibalizing previous short stories[1]—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."[2]

Chandler uses recognizable locations in Los Angeles as settings, but creates the fictional town of Bay City as a stand-in for Santa Monica, California, known for its widespread corruption in city government during the Great Depression.

Film adaptations[edit]

The Falcon Takes Over (1942), the first film adaptation of the novel, starring George Sanders as gentleman sleuth Gay Lawrence

Although it was written after The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely was the first Philip Marlowe novel to be filmed. In 1942, The Falcon Takes Over, a 65-minute film that was the third in the Falcon series about Michael Arlen's gentleman sleuth Gay Lawrence (played by George Sanders), used the plot of Farewell, My Lovely. In 1944, Dick Powell played the part of the hard-boiled detective, named Philip Marlowe this time, in a classic film noir release — alternatively entitled Murder, My Sweet (in the U.S.) and Farewell, My Lovely (in the U.K.) — two years before Humphrey Bogart was offered the role of Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946). In 1975, Robert Mitchum starred in a remake of Farewell, My Lovely.

  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
Anne Riordan Lynn Bari Anne Shirley
Moose Malloy Ward Bond Mike Mazurki Jack O'Halloran
Jules Amthor Turhan Bey Otto Kruger Kate Murtagh (as "Frances Amthor")
Jessie Florian Anne Revere Esther Howard Sylvia Miles
Mr. Grayle Miles Mander Jim Thompson
Lindsay Marriott Hans Conried Douglas Walton John O'Leary
Laird Brunette Selmar Jackson (as "Laird Burnett") Anthony Zerbe

Radio adaptations[edit]

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[edit]

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.[3]

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 the translation process.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bruccoli, Matthew J., Raymond Chandler: A Descriptive Bibliography, Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh, 1979.
  2. ^ McShane, Frank (1976). The Life of Raymond Chandler. London: Jonathon Cape. p. 64. 
  3. ^ Usborne, Simon (September 24, 2009). "Hit & Run: Meet the Jonathans". The Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved October 18, 2009. 

External links[edit]