Poodle Springs

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Poodle Springs
First edition cover
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 (pb)
ISBN 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were subsequently published in Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962), a collection of letter excerpts and miscellaneous unpublished writings.[1] In 1988, on the occasion of the centenary of Chandler's birth, crime writer Robert B. Parker was asked by the Estate of Raymond Chandler to complete the novel.[2]

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

Plot summary[edit]

The start of the book finds Marlowe married to Linda Loring, the rich daughter of local tycoon Harlan Potter. Loring and Marlowe had met in The Long Goodbye and begun 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 outside Poodle Springs jurisdiction in Riverside. He has taken an IOU for $100,000 from one of his customers, a Poodle Springs photographer called Les Valentine. Lipshultz' 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 retrieve 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 for this edition. In these opening chapters, the Marlowes' arrival in Poodle Springs fresh from their honeymoon is described, the large bungalow they live in and Marlowe's insistence on independence. The principal characters of Philip Marlowe, Linda Loring and Manny Lipshultz, as well as several supporting characters, are introduced.[1]

Parker wrote the other chapters. In 1991 Parker followed this up with a further novel featuring Marlowe; this novel – Perchance to Dream – was written as a sequel to Chandler's The Big Sleep.


  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". The 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.