Finding Philip Marlowe

Raymond Chandler, Philip Marlowe, Humphrey Bogart


Some authors are unalterably linked to a particular place and time—Faulkner, Dickens, Cheever. For Raymond Chandler, the time and place are Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s. His books about that era convey a very specific mindset, with such classic lines as “There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself” (The Long Goodbye), “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window” (Farewell, My Lovely); and “You know what Canino will do—beat my teeth out and then kick me in the stomach for mumbling” (The Big Sleep). You can’t read his rhythms without seeing Humphrey Bogart as the perfect personification of his detective, Philip Marlowe.

According to Electric Lit, from Malibu to Pasadena, Chandler’s “iconic spots dot the landscape.” Now you can retrace the high (and low) points from this master of the hardboiled detective novel with a new map of the City of Angels
, written and compiled by Kim Cooper and designed by Paul Rogers, which the publisher calls “an insider’s guide to the city Chandler knew.”

Cooper’s company Estouric conducts literary, true crime, and California culture tours, including “Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles: In a Lonely Place” and “The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare,” as well as the uplifting “Mausolea of Los Angeles.” (Mystery writers attending the big Bouchercon conference will have a special edition of the Chandler tour.)

Given the amount of research done for the tours, the map was a logical next step. Cooper had to do a fair bit of digging, too. “I was thrilled to be able to confirm the actual location of Victor’s, the bar where Marlowe and Terry Lennox grow close over gimlets in The Long Goodbye,” (my review) she told Electric Lit.