Irish author John Banville has written a novel in the style of Raymond Chandler starring his most famous detective Philip Marlowe.
It is 75 years this week since the publication of Chandler’s classic noir crime novel, The Big Sleep, which became famous from the 1946 movie starring Humphrey Bogart as the iconic detective.
Banville’s Black-Eyed Blonde is due for publication in March, written under Banville’s crime alias, Benjamin Black.
Black-Eyed Blonde is a title which Chandler had toyed with in one of his notebooks, now realised in this new work of fiction.
Benjamin Black places Marlowe on the mean streets of Bay City, California in the early 1950s. Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client - young, beautiful, and dressed expensively - seeks his assistance. She asks Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson. Marlowe sets off on his search, but is soon entangled with one of Bay City’s richest families.
Banville's - aka Black's - novel begins as follows “It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving. The telephone on my desk had the look of something that knows it’s being watched. Traffic trickled by in the street below, and there were a few pedestrians, too, men in hats going nowhere.”