The Big Sleep took the mystery genre from its pulp-magazine roots into a more emotionally resonant literary intensity that was distinguished by the author's rich, detailed descriptions, which reflected private detective Philip Marlowe's inner world. The mystery surrounding this mystery is that even Chandler didn't fully understand the novel's dense, tangled plot. When Howard Hawks and his screenwriters, working on their 1946 film adaptation, wanted to know who killed the chauffeur, Chandler admitted that he didn't know. Some of the mysteries are solved in The Annotated Big Sleep with notes and new background information from editors Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson and Anthony Rizzuto. This evening, Judith Freeman, David L. Ulin and other Chandler aficionados read from their favorite sections of the iconic novel.
Set in Hollywood, Raymond Chandler's