US writer of detective novels, creator of the private detective Philip Marlowe.
Born in Chicago, Chandler was educated in England, where he lived with his British mother from 1896 to 1912. He published some early writings in British newspapers and weeklies and served with British and Canadian forces in World War I. After the war he worked for several US oil companies and in the 1930s began to publish crime fiction in pulp magazines. With his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939; filmed 1946 and 1979), he was recognized as more than an ordinary crime writer. He worked in the tough urban ‘hard-boiled’ vein developed by his acknowledged model, Dashiell Hammett. Philip Marlowe, Chandler's hero, is a moral man without illusions about the utterly corrupt society in which he operates. Chandler's other novels include Farewell My Lovely (1940; filmed 1944 and 1975), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943; filmed 1946), and The Long Goodbye (1953; filmed 1973). The Simple Art of Murder (1950) contains a dozen shorter works with a commentary. From 1943 Chandler was also a screenwriter, his films including Double Indemnity (1944) and Strangers on a Train (1951).