Saturday, July 4, 2009

Man Who Liked Dogs, The (short story; Chandler, R)

Rating: 4
Year: 1936
Genre: Crime
Read again? Maybe

Second of 12 shorts in Chandler's "Trouble is my Business" collection.

Carmady's the shamus on the case, looking for a missing woman and her police dog; he goes to a kennel in search of the dog and finds it there. Then he pretends to leave, tails the kennel man--Sharp--who's trying to play it sneaky, get rid of the dog. Carmady watches the man and the dog enter a house; there's barking, shouting, more barking, and a man's scream. He rushes to the door and inside: Sharp's lying and dying on the floor, the dog standing over him, growling, and there's a woman with a gun, then a man with a bigger gun. Carmady disarms them both and asks some questions. They've only been there a week. They say they don't know Sharp or the dog; he was trying to knock the critter out with chloroform and stuff it in a closet.

Then the cops show up--and they sap Carmady without asking any questions.

...and this brings us to a scene right out of "Farewell, My Lovely"--Carmady wakes up in what amounted to a rehab back in the day, a private hospital. From there he faces down corrupt cops and the thugs keeping them as pets.

This is the first of the shorts to use the wise-ass dialogue I liked in "The Big Sleep," stuff like this:

Dirty cop, to nosy nurse: "Go climb up your thumb."

Bad guy, with a Tommy gun, ordering the dirty cop to rais his hands: "Grab a cloud."

After a brief firefight: 'In the room were five statues, two fallen."

The dirty police chief glares at him: 'He measured me for a coffin.'

It's looking like most of the shorts in the collection went on to become major parts of Chandler's novels. That's disappointing, but interesting, so I'm not going to beat him up over it.

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