raymond chandler

My mum suggested this quote from Raymond Chandler’s novel, Pearls are a nuisance:

“He snorted and hit me in the solar plexus. I bent over and took hold of  the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.”

He’s good at little nuggets like this so I thought I’d see what others I could find lying around on the internet.

The only Raymond Chandler novel I’ve read is The Big Sleep, and that was great. The quote my mum suggested and the quotes below have made me want to read lots more.

From The Big Sleep:

“I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.”

“The General spoke again, slowly, using his strength as carefully as an out-of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings.”

“What did it matter where you lay once you were dead?  In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill.  You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that.  Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you.  You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.  Me, I was part of the nastiness now.”

“Tall, aren’t you?” she said. 
“I didn’t mean to be.” 
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.”

From Farewell, My Lovely:

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.” 

“She’s a charming middle age lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she’s washed her hair since Coolidge’s second term, I’ll eat my spare tire, rim and all.”

“Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”

“I walked back through the arch and started up the steps.  It was a nice walk if you liked grunting.  There were two hundred and eighty steps up to Cabrillo Street.  They were drifted over with windblown sand and the handrail was as cold and wet as a toad’s belly.”

“The voice got as cool as a cafeteria dinner.”

“She was as cute as a washtub.”

“The house itself was not so much. It was smaller than Buckingham Palace, rather gray for California, and probably had fewer windows than the Chrysler Building. I sneaked over to the side entrance and pressed a bell and somewhere a set of chimes made a deep mellow sound like church bells. A man in a striped vest and gilt buttons opened the door, bowed, took my hat and was through for the day.”

“I sat beside her on the yellow leather chesterfield. ‘Aren’t you a pretty fast worker?’ she asked quietly. I didn’t answer her. ‘Do you do much of this sort of thing?’ she asked with a sidelong look. ‘Practically none. I’m a Tibetan monk, in my spare time.’ ‘Only you don’t have any spare time.'”

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.”

From The Long Goodbye:

“At three A.M. I was walking the floor listening to Khachaturyan working in a tractor factory.  He called it a violin concerto.  I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it.”

“She opened a mouth like a firebucket and laughed.  That terminated my interest in her.  I couldn’t hear the laugh but the hole in her face when she unzippered her teeth was all I needed.”

“I belonged in Idle Valley like a pearl onion on a banana split.”

“San Diego? One of the most beautiful harbors in the world and nothing in it but navy and a few fishing boats. At night it is fairyland. The swell is as gentle as an old lady singing hymns. But Marlowe has to get home and count the spoons.”


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