`A long-limbed languorous type of showgirl blonde lay at her ease in one of the chairs, with her feet raised on a padded rest and a tall misted glass at her elbow, near a silver ice bucket and a Scotch bottle. She looked at us lazily as we came over the grass. From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away’..
The plot of ‘The High Window‘ maybe doesn’t matter. What matters is the writing and how good it is. Chandler’s characters are corrupt for more than one reason, and Marlowe finds out what some of those reasons are. Chandler provides a tense mystery with a strong element of menace and personal danger, all in the author’s trademark concise and witty style. The dialogue between Marlowe and the somewhat abrasive Mrs Murdock, in particular, makes the pages seem alive with bite and tension and it becomes clear she is the first in a line of characters trying to hide something from Marlowe, even while demanding his assistance. He’s less interested in finding out who stole the rare coin and who committed murder to cover it up, than why Mrs Murdock called him in the first place, and then why she is a widow. ‘The High Window‘ is written by Raymond Chandler, and he was one of the best writers ever to use modern American English. Few authors have written sentences as clear and descriptive as his. If ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ he has been amply flattered..