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Raymond Chandler

Chandler Raymond Thornton (1888-1959), the Irish American writer was born in Chicago and migrated to England with his divorced mother at the age of seven. He later became a British citizen. During a brief stint as a journalist, from 1909-11, he wrote articles on European affairs, along with sketches, poems, and literary essays for various newspapers. Chandler returned to America in 1912. During the Atlantic crossing, he befriended a Los Angeles attorney, Edward Lloyd, and moved to Los Angeles. He studied bookkeeping and worked as an accountant for an L.A. creamery before enlisting in the Canadian army in 1917. He was sent to France and fought in the trenches, receiving a concussion during an artillery bombardment. After the war, he worked for a bank in San Francisco, then joined a Los Angeles oil company, where he remained for several years, first as bookkeeper, then as auditor, and finally as vice president. In 1932, he was fired for drunkenness and absenteeism.

At the age of 45, Chandler decided to try his hand as a writer for pulp crime magazines. His first detective story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot," was published in Black Mask magazine in 1933. Over the next three years he wrote 18 stories for the pulps. Often short of money, he and his wife Cissy moved from furnished apartment to furnished apartment throughout Southern California - sometimes two or three times a year. He later recalled: "I never slept in the park but I came damn close to it. I went five days without anything to eat but soup once."

Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep, set in Los Angeles and featuring the brooding, tough-talking private eye Philip Marlowe, was published in 1939.

Other Marlowe/L.A.-centered books followed: Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, and finally, Playback.In 1994, the city of Los Angeles named a Hollywood street corner "Raymond Chandler Square" in the writer's honor. The square is located at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga boulevards, the site of Philip Marlowe's fictitious 6th floor Hollywood office