RAYMOND CHANDLER was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 23, 1888, but spent most of his boyhood and youth in England, where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a free-lance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Spectator. During World War I, he served in France with the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, transferring later to the Royal Flying Corps (R.A.F.). In 1919 he returned to the United States, settling in California, where he eventually became director of a number of independent oil companies.
The Depression put an end to his business career, and in 1933, at the age of forty-five, he turned to writing, publishing his first stories in Black Mask. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. Never a prolific writer, he published only one collection of stories and seven novels in his lifetime. In the last year of his life he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died in La Jolla, California, on March 26, 1959.
"She looked up quickly, then shook her head. "It could be," I insisted. 'We don't know anything against it. He was pretty nervous yesterday for a man who has nothing to be afraid of. But, of course, it isn't only the guilty who are afraid."
I stood up and tapped on the edge of the desk looking down at her. She had a lovely neck. She pointed to the handkerchief.
"What about that?" she asked dully.
"If it was mine, I'd wash that cheap scent out of it."
"It has to mean something, doesn't it? It might mean a lot."
I laughed. "I don't think it means anything at all. Women are always leaving their handkerchiefs around. A fellow like Lavery would collect them and keep them in a drawer with a sandalwood sachet. Somebody would find the stock and take one out to use. Or he would lend them, enjoying the reactions to the other girls' initials. I'd say he was that kind of a heel. Goodby, Miss Fromsett, and thanks for talking to me."
I started to go, then I stopped and asked her: "Did you hear the name of the reporter down there who gave Brownwell all his information?"
She shook her head.
"Or the name of Mrs. Almore's parents?"
"Not that either. But I could probably find that out for you. I'd be glad to try." "How?"
"Those things are usually printed in death notices, aren't they? There is pretty sure to have been a death notice in the Los Angeles papers."
"That would be very nice of you," I said. I ran a finger along the edge of the desk and looked at her sideways. Pale ivory skin, dark arid lovely eyes, hair as light as hair can be and as dark as night can be.
I walked back down the room and out. The little blonde at the PBX looked at me expectantly, her small' red lips parted, waiting for more fun. I didn't have any more. I went on out".
"THE LADY IN THE LAKE" (1943) by Raymond Chandler
Revisit my post Bogart in The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks' film vs Raymond Chandler's novel)