KILLER IN THE RAIN by Raymond Chandler - A little classic of hard boiled detective stories #noir Click To Tweet
He looked at his large hand and frowned. ‘No – you still don’t get it. I got a job for you.’
‘I don’t go out much anymore,’ I said. ‘I’m getting kind of frail.’
He looked around the room carefully, bluffing a bit, like a man not naturally observant.
‘Maybe it’s money,’ he said.
‘Maybe it is,’ I said.
He had a belted suede raincoat on. He tore it open carelessly and got out a wallet that was not quite as big as a bale of hay. Currency stuck out of it at careless angles. When he slapped it down on his knee it made a fat sound that was pleasant to the ear. He shook money out of it, selected a few bills from the bunch, stuffed the rest back, dropped the wallet on the floor and let it lie, arranged five century notes like a tight poker hand and put it under the base of the fan on the table.
That was a lot of work. It made him grunt.
‘I got lots of sugar,’ he said.
‘So I see. What do I do for that, if I get it?’
This is one of the short stories Chandler published in the Black Mask and Penguin issued a couple of years ago on its own in a series of little booklets. I was happy to buy it because I’ve always been curious to read Chandler. Well, I’ll say I was a bit disappointed.
I loved the style, mind you. It’s absolutely fantastic. Tight, essential, nearly dry, concentrated on the action. It’s like seeing a movie in your head, very visual, but also very colloquial. Of course, his stories are told in the first person POV and it’s strong. Colloquialism, slang, mimic of real talk. Truly fantastic.
But the story and the characters? I was particularly disappointed with the story, because in the end it didn’t make complete sense to me. At least, not this short story. It was a bit loose and the ending didn’t satisfy me. The characters were intriguing, but I never got close to them enough to really care what happened to them. I wonder whether this is because this is a short story. Maybe in longer works I’ll have the possibility to know the characters better.
So I did enjoy it, but I honestly expected a little more.
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