Overall rating: 4
Read again? In a few years, maybe.
I'm glad I read it, but I'm not happy that it took a solid month to do so.
The book itself didn't drag; the killer is in the formula. The detective is asked onto a case, he goes to interview an important witness, who turns up dead. It's a time-honored formula, and obviously successful, but it made for some disorientation. Good thing I took notes.
The big surprise, as mentioned in several of the early story reviews, was that Chandler went on to build novels from several stories. The upshot of this is that a reader who's already seen the novels will already know where a component short story is going.
Here's the breakdown:
The Big Sleep (1939) uses "Killer in the Rain" and "The Curtain."
Farewell, My Lovely (1940) uses "The Man who Liked Dogs," "Try the Girl," and "Mandarin's Jade."
The Lady in the Lake (1943) uses "Bay City Blues," "The Lady in the Lake," and "No Crime in the Mountains."
I do like Chandler's style, but it doesn't seem as developed in the shorts as in his novels.