The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.


EP1421: Philip Marlowe: Night Tide

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is hired by a businessman who is concerned that a dock worker he sent to prison is out for vengeance.

Original Air Date: May 21, 1949

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EP1415: Philip Marlowe: The Promise to Pay

Gerald Mohr

A young businessman hires Marlowe after he's blackmailed over a marker he gave to a gambler that could ruin his career.

Original Air Date: May 14, 1949

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Book Review: Trouble Is My Business

Trouble is My Business collects four Philip Marlowe novellas written by Raymond Chandler. The stories were originally published in magazines such as the Black Mask with other detective heroes but were rewritten with Marlowe as the hero after the character became popular. However, other than that, the stories remained essentially the same. While Chandler thought he could improve on his Black Mask stories, he found that trying to do so destroyed them, so essentially we had the stories in their original form.

The titular story for the collection, "Trouble Is My Business" is pretty much a typical hard boiled private eye story and the one that felt most like several elements had already been incorporated in other Marlowe novels. A rich man hires Marlowe to prevent his son from marrying a designing woman and a series of violent incidents follow.

"Finger Man" is a much more intriguing story. Marlowe is the only witness against a mob boss' henchman and at the same time, an old friend asks Marlowe to help watch him as he goes to do some high stakes gambling and before you know it Marlowe finds himself framed for murder.

"Goldfish" finds Marlowe following a clue from an old policewoman in search of missing pearls and a pardoned criminal who keeps Goldfish. This is a great story that takes Marlowe out of LA for once and with some great hard boiled characters thrown in.

"Red Wind" is a Marlowe story that's been oft adapted to radio and television with both of the Golden Age Philip Marlowe radio series taking a turn at it, as well as for the 1980s Philip Marlowe TV series and the 1990s Series, "Fallen Angels." While out at a bar, Marlowe stumbles on a murder and then finds a woman who, though innocent in the crime, has nonetheless been caught up in a web of blackmail and deceit through no fault of her own. This is nearly a perfect hard boiled story. More than any other story or even novel, it highlight Marlowe as the knight in tarnished armor with his sense of honor guiding his actions through a very sketchy situation. It also is a great hardboiled story with some great characters and solid action. Given that this is only a short story, Red Wind delivers a lot.

Overall, this is a great collection of hard boiled fiction that really stands the test of time with each short story topping itself in quality.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

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EP1409: Philip Marlowe: The Feminine Touch

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is hired by the father of a wild daughter who has fallen for a motorcycle stunt rider and whose partners have sent the father a threatening note.

Original Air Date: May 7, 1949

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EP1403: Philip Marlowe: The Lady in the Mink

Gerald Mohr

Philip Marlowe is hired to find a woman's sister before she commits murder.

Original Air Date: April 30, 1949

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EP1397: Philip Marlowe: The Cloak of Kamehameha

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is sent to Hawaii to facilitate the sale of an all-feather cloak to find someone bordered his plane under Marlowe's name.

Original Air Date: April 23, 1949

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Video Theater 057: Philip Marlowe: The Ugly Ducking

Marlowe pays off a wealthy young woman's husband's mistress, but she doublecrosses him and turns up dead.

Episode 1:

Original Air Date: October 6, 1959


Book Review: The Little Sister

The Little Sister shows some features of some of the best Marlowe stories, but the fifth book in this series just doesn't stand up to its predecessors.

In The Little Sister it starts simply enough when a bored Marlowe is hired by the little sister of a man who moved to LA from Manhattan, Kansas and has stopped writing.

As is usual, Marlowe plunges into a case that gets him into the midst of a shady underworld, of Hollywood, and of course puts him on the bad side of police.

The story is worth reading once and has some classic Marlowe moments. Towards the end of the book, a couple of cops who've had to put up with Marlowe playing fast and loose with murders and bodies tell Marlowe off and it's a beautiful moment when the characters come to life.

It is a rare moment in this story. In 250 pages, I lost track of how many bodies were dropped and who killed them all. So many characters come and go, we really get no impression of them. There's no character in this book I really connected with in the same way I did with characters in, "Lady in the Lake," and "The Big Sleep."

Another thing that hurts the book is the focus. In the first four novels, Marlowe's scorn is directed at big city crime, crooked Los Angeles (and nearby communities) police forces. Marlowe's bile is justified because he knows of what he speaks. In the Little Sister, he uses a combination of a dirty mind and experience with two kids from Manhattan, Kansas as the basis for all sorts of psychological deductions about what a small town is like. It feels less like Marlowe's making street wise observations on life and more like he's expressing poorly informed prejudices.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a bad book, but it doesn't measure up to Chandler's other works.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0


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EP1391: Philip Marlowe: Heat Wave

Gerald Mohor

Marlowe is hired the identity of a burlesque dancer by a woman who think she's her sister.

Original Air Date: April 16, 1949

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EP1385: Philip Marlowe: The Name to Remember

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is hired to find out the identity of a man with a t-shirt who has been stalking his client. The client is found dead and he's not the only one.

Original Air Date: April 9, 1949

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