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

6Feb/150

EP1489: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Silver Belle Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called to find an elderly mine owner who is feared to have been a victim of foul play.

Original Air Date: October 13, 1957

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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5Feb/150

EP1488: Nick Carter: The Case of the Wandering Macaroni

Lon Clark

Nick and Patti are sent to obtain a macaroni dish.

Original Air Date: July 20, 1947

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4Feb/150

EP1487: Philip Marlowe: The Lady Killer

Gerald Mohr

A handsome young man tries to hire Marlowe but is murdered before Marlowe takes the case.

Original Air Date: August 20, 1949

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3Feb/150

EP1486: Crime and Peter Chambers: The Bank Teller Murder

Dane Clark

The wife of an accused embezzler turns to Peter Chambers for help.

Original Air Date: July 20, 1954

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2Feb/150

EP1485: The Saint: The Horrible Hamburger

Vincent Price

Simon and Louie get lost in Westchester County and stop for a hamburger, only to find a corpse after leaving.

Original Air Date: September 10, 1950

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31Jan/152

Book Review: The Long Goodbye


The Long Goodbye (1953) finds Marlowe living in a borrowed house in Los Angeles when he meets a down and out drunk and former war hero named Terry Lennox. Marlowe strikes up a friendship with the man and one morning Marlowe is awakened to find Lennox asking to be driven to Mexico. Marlowe does this and the finds out Lennox’s wealthy wife was murdered with Lennox the prime suspect. Lennox writes out a confession and kills himself in Mexico. The cops, organized crime, and the dead woman’s father want Marlowe to forget the case, yet Marlowe feels an obligation to Lennox.

To begin with, The Long Goodbye is the longest of all Chandler novels. The same publisher did the most recent reprint of the Marlowe books, and the first five novels range from 231-292 pages. This book weighs in at 379 pages.  At this point in his career, Chandler had come to realize what people looked to Marlowe books for: the characters and the dialogue, and Marlowe telling people off. So Chandler gave us this in spades.

He gives ample time to develop the Marlowe-Lennox relationship at the start of the book and there are great Chandler characters spread throughout the book including author Roger Wade, who I can see as a self-insertion character by Chandler particularly after listening to the BBC Radio 4 play about Chandler and Hitchcock attempting to collaborate on Strangers on a Train. The book is full of rich characterization, settings, and dialogue.

The downside of the Long Goodbye is that in the midst of all that, Chandler loses the story several times. It’s hard to remember a detective novel where the detective took so little interest in solving the central mystery of the book. Marlowe literally goes weeks without doing anything and there are moments in the story where I wonder if we’re ever going to get back to the Terry Lennox case. It’s hard to care about the solution to a story when the main character doesn’t seem to.

In addition, this is a much more cynical and jaded Marlowe than prior books with his remarks that organized crime is just a cost of civilization in one of the later chapters. Marlowe seems at times to be almost exaggerated at a few times even explaining he was trying to be mysterious at one point.

I also feel the relationship between Marlowe and Linda Loring or the attempt thereof was weak and far less interesting than the flirting with romance in prior novels.

Overall, this is a still a good read and is better than The Little Sister and The High Window with so many interesting characters and settings, and some great dialogue. Still, it feels less organic and its pacing issues place it below the very best Marlowe novels in the series. For my part, I think the 1970s BBC radio adaptation with Ed Bishop is probably the best way to experience the story as it manages to preserve the heart of the story while leaving a lot of extraneous elements on the cutting room floor.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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31Jan/150

EP1484: Dragnet: The Big Escape

Jack Webb
A friend of Joe's is arrested for a robbery in which Ben was shot.

Original Air Date: January 5, 1950

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30Jan/150

EP1483: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Bum Steer Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called in by a fan of the radio show to gather "atmosphere" from his ranch. When Johnny makes it out, the man who called him is dead.

Original Air Date: October 6, 1957

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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29Jan/150

EP1482: Nick Carter: The Case of the Missing Piano Player

Lon Clark

Nick is called in to investigate a crooked roulette wheel and discovers a mystery surrounding a missing piano player.

Original Air Date: July 13, 1947

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28Jan/150

EP1481: Philip Marlowe: The Indian Giver

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe investigates a case of stolen pottery and as usual someone gets killed.

Original Air Date: August 13, 1949

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