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EP1547: Philip Marlowe: The Green Witch

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is hired to guard a wealthy businessman at a Halloween masquerade party.

Original Air Date: October 29, 1949


EP1541: Philip Marlowe: The Smokeout

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe investigates the murder of a woman who tried to hire him and tries to find "the woman in a black," a mystery woman who claimed to see her murder.

Original Air Date: October 22, 1949

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EP1535: Philip Marlowe: The Strangle Hold

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe has to prove that a big-time wrestler crooked or his client radio producer will face a slander judgment.

Original Air Date: October 15, 1949

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EP1529: Philip Marlowe: The Open Window

Gerald Mohr
An Amnesiac woman turns to Marlowe to find out who she is and why she thinks she should be in Vancouver, BC.

Original Air Date: October 8, 1949

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Book Review: Playback

While the second to last Philip Marlowe novel was the longest, the last was the shortest, coming in at about 170 pages in its most recent reprint.

In it, Marlowe is hired by an attorney to follow a woman with very little explantion. He follows her to Esmerelda, a fictionalized version of LaJolla.

There Marlowe encounters blackmail and a corpse that disappears from the balcony of the woman he was hired to follow.

All things considered, this is a book that I wish Raymond Chandler hadn’t bothered to right. The beginning is promising, but 2/3 through the story begins to collapse.

Chandler, at his finest wrote involved and complex tales of mystery. There was always more than meets the eye to a Chandler mystery. Here, there is far less. I literally said out loud, "That's it!" and tossed the book aside until my determination to finish books I start compelled me to read on.

Chandler's characters are also far flatter than in previous works. You won't find any characters who approach the level of those in other novels. There's no one like General Sternwood, Moose Malloy, Bill Chess, or Terry Lennox in this entire novel.

While the dialogue isn't as good as in other books, there's still a few decent lines in this one and that's one saving grace.

And then there are the other issues of Marlowe's encounters with two different women. Thankfully, there's nothing shown, which is the most artful thing about this portion of the book. The writing by Chandler is just embarrassing.  The dialogue is awful, and the set up is clumsy.   The relationship with Linda Loring in The Long Goodbye is elevated to some high exalted status of her being an old flame, when she just came over for an evening before leaving town.

Worse than that, Marlowe admits that sleeping with one of the women was unethical as an Investigator and then it does it anyway and it's not like there's some psychological reason for it or an internal struggle that Marlowe's better nature loses, there's no reason at all given.  At the end of the book, it appears that all that remains of the ethical core of Marlowe from The Big Sleep is an eccentric aversion to taking money for getting himself beaten up and inconvenienced.

The book is sad because it shows how much of a toll alcoholism and depression took on a great author. It's one of the worst books written about a classic detective by his actual creator. It's the one Marlowe book that's never been made into a movie and hopefully never will be. It's a forgettable or at least I hope it is as I'll certainly be doing my best to forget it.

Rating: 1.75 out of 5.00

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EP1517: Philip Marlowe: The Fatted Calf

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is hired by a cartoonist  who is concerned about his assistant's wife's unusual behavior.

Original Air Date: September 24, 1949

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EP1511: Philip Marlowe: The Baton Sinister

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is hired to delivery a tapestry. He's beaten up and the tapestry is stolen.

Original Air Date: September 17,  1949

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EP1505: Philip Marlowe: The Rustin Hickory

Gerald Mohr

A teacher from Nebraska hires Marlowe to solve a murder and keep her name out of the paper.

Original Air Date: September 10, 1949

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EP1499: Philip Marlowe: Bum’s Rush

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe's Aunt in Montana asks him to find her boyfriend, a hobo who went to Los Angeles.

Original Air Date: September 3, 1949

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EP1493: Philip Marlowe: The Eager Witness

Gerald Mohr

A last minute defense witness in a murder trial through the conviction of a career criminal doubt and the daughter of the deceased turns to Phil to ensure her father's murderer is convicted.

Original Air Date: August 27, 1949

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