"But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid." -- The Simple Art of Murder (1944)
"It was a blonde. The kind of blonde that would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window." -- Farewell, My Lovely (1940)
Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959) was and is one of the most influential writers of and on detective fiction, through seven novels, many short stories, and a number of essays, of which the most famous is 1944's "The Simple Art of Murder". He also had an influence on the developing Film Noir, both indirectly through adaptations of his novels, and more directly through a stint as a Hollywood screenwriter (he wrote the screenplay for Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train).
His most famous creation is Los Angeles private detective Philip Marlowe, the central character of his novels: The Big Sleep (1939), Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943), The Little Sister (1949), The Long Goodbye (1953), and Playback (1958).
- Accidental Truth: In one book, intending to express his lack of interest in a case, Marlowe tells a random person that he couldn't care less if they were a previously mentioned long-disappeared killer. This causes most of the book's plot as they mistakenly assume he knows their secret.
- The Alcoholic: Roger Wade and Terry Lennox of The Long Goodbye. In real life, Chandler himself had formerly been one, and only could make it through writing the script for The Blue Dahlia drunk.
- Author Existence Failure
- Chandler's Law: Trope Namer
- Chandler American Time-via pastiches.
- Complete Monster: In The Little Sister, Marlowe regards Dolores Gonzales as pretty much one of these, to the extent that he pretty knowingly lets her get killed. Readers will probably give Orfamay Quest the dishonor instead.
- Empathic Environment: The wind and heat in "Red Wind", etc.
- Expy: Philip Marlowe, protagonist of Chandler's novels, is pretty much John Dalmas, protagonist of Chandler's stories for Dime Detective magazine, who is pretty much Carmady, protagonist of Chandler's stories for Black Mask magazine. To the extent that the Dalmas and Carmady stories were subsequently collected and reprinted with Marlowe's name substituted for theirs.
- Faking the Dead: At least two of the novels have one of the murders (there's always more than one) turn out to be this.
- Friend on the Force: Bernie Ohls, chief investigator for the DA's office. Also, Violets M'Gee.
- Gambit Pileup
- Golden Age of Hollywood/Horrible Hollywood: A source of deep cynicism in The Little Sister.
- Hardboiled Detective: Chandler basically codified the genre for once and for all.
- Heat Wave: "Red Wind"
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen."
- Love Makes You Evil: The Little Sister.
- Kneecapping: In one of his short stories, the protagonist stops one of the crooks from escaping by shooting in the most painful spot he could think of that wouldn't kill him: the back of the knee.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Philip Marlowe. He gets positively acidic by the time of The Little Sister and The Long Goodbye.
- Posthumous Collaboration: Chandler's unfinished eighth Marlowe novel, Poodle Springs, was finished by Robert B. Parker (of Spenser fame) and published in 1989. Generally dismissed by Chandler fans.
- Private Eye Monologue
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Harlan Potter in The Long Goodbye.
- Skeleton Key Card
- The Stoic
- Zillion-Dollar Bill: Marlowe receives a "portrait of Madison" (a $5,000 bill) for doing a small favor at the start of The Long Goodbye. The bill causes no end of trouble.