Poodle Springs

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Poodle Springs
Cover of the first edition
Author Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker
Country United States
Language English
Series Philip Marlowe
Genre Crime fiction
Publisher G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
October 1989
Media type Print (hardcover, 1989, and paperback, 1990)
Pages 290 (paperback edition)
ISBN 0-425-12343-X (pb)
OCLC 22651781
Preceded by Playback

Poodle Springs is the eighth Philip Marlowe novel. It was started in 1958 by Raymond Chandler, who left it unfinished at his death in 1959. The four chapters he had completed, which bore the working title "The Poodle Springs Story", were subsequently published in Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962), a collection of excerpts from letters and unpublished writings.[1] In 1988, on the occasion of the centenary of Chandler's birth, the crime writer Robert B. Parker was asked by the estate of Raymond Chandler to complete the novel.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Marlowe is married to Linda Loring, the rich daughter of local tycoon Harlan Potter. Loring and Marlowe met in The Long Goodbye and began a romance at the end of Playback. From the beginning there are tensions, however, as Linda wants Marlowe to quit his job and get a decent position at one of her father's plants, which Marlowe refuses. The couple relocate to Poodle Springs (a mocking reference to Palm Springs), where they move into a grand mansion and Linda starts organising cocktail parties. Marlowe literally bumps into a local criminal named Lipschultz, who requests his services before Marlowe has even found office space in Poodle Springs.

Lipschultz operates an illegal gambling house just in Riverside, just outside the jurisdiction of Poodle Spings. He has taken an IOU for $100,000 from one of his customers, a Poodle Springs photographer called Les Valentine. Lipshultz's boss, a local tycoon, has found out that the sum is missing from the books and has issued a 30-day ultimatum to retrieve the money or else. Lipshultz asks Marlowe to find Valentine, who is unreachable. Marlowe accepts the job, asserting that all he can do is locate Valentine, not shake him down. Marlowe leaves and questions Valentine's wife, Muffy Blackstone, a rich socialite and acquaintance of his own wife, who tells him Valentine is out on a photo shoot.

When Marlowe calls on Lipshultz again, he finds him killed in his casino office. From there, the trail leads to a double identity and a mastermind behind the scenes that is too close to home to be comfortable.


Chandler's first four chapters of the story are used complete and unabridged in this edition. These opening chapters describe the Marlowes' arrival in Poodle Springs fresh from their honeymoon, the large bungalow they live in and Marlowe's insistence on independence, and they introduce the principal characters (Philip Marlowe, Linda Loring and Manny Lipshultz) and several supporting characters.[1]

Parker wrote the other chapters. In 1991 Parker followed this novel with a new novel featuring Marlowe, Perchance to Dream, a sequel to Chandler's The Big Sleep.

In other media[edit]

The novel was adapted for a film of the same name by the premium cable channel HBO in 1998, starring James Caan as Marlowe.[3] An adaptation for BBC Radio 4 was broadcast in October 2011, starring Toby Stephens as Marlowe.


  1. ^ a b Raymond Chandler Speaking, ed. by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962, 1997² (ISBN 0-520-20835-8).
  2. ^ Blades, John (March 1, 1991). "Marlowe's mean streets; Tracking the man who filled Raymond Chandler's shoes". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Poodle Springs". New York Times. 

Further reading[edit]

  • For commentary on this book, see: Wild, Peter (2011). Paradise of Desire: Eleven Palm Springs Novels. Tucson, AZ: Estate of Peter Wild. p. 281. OCLC 748584112.