Big Sleep, The
The Big Sleep
a novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1939. The Big Sleep is the first of Chandler's series of detective novels which feature Philip Marlowe as their hero and, many would argue, the greatest. The complex plot, however, has perplexed many readers and after the novel was adapted for the cinema in 1946 the director, Howard Hawks, is reputed to have said that ‘neither the author, the writer, nor myself knew who had killed whom’. (The screenplay was written by William Faulkner.) Chandler's prose, which owes much to the influence of Ernest Hemingway, is strikingly effective here in giving a surreal sense to the city of Los Angeles where the action takes place.