Y'all, I've been delving into the public domain for my reading material lately, and come to a couple of conclusions. (1) Those books that I thought I remembered reading in my youth are a lot different than I remember them, and I'm pretty sure I must have been reading the Severely Abridged For Young Readers Edition and (2) Many of these classics are worth revisiting. Go ahead and check out The Big Sleep here.
This is a classic noir story, set in the late '30s in Los Angeles. The tough-guy gang talk is hilarious. and would have pleased my late mother-in-law to no end. Some of those slang words are definitely worth bringin' back. And then there's stuff like this:
I grinned at her with my head on one side. She flushed. Her hot black eyes looked mad. "I don't see what there is to be cagey about," she snapped. "And I don't like your manners."
"I'm not crazy about yours," I said. "I didn't ask to see you. You sent for me. I don't mind your ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch bottle. I don't mind your showing me your legs. They're very swell legs and it's a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don't mind if you don't like my manners. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me."
Swell! Private detective Phillip Marlowe is hired by an oil baron with two miscreant daughters to clear up a blackmail threat. But things aren't exactly what they seem and a few plot twists later and with more murders than an episode of Game of Thrones, he's got his hands full trying to stay alive and save the world. But he just can't help his wisecracking ways and it only lands him in more trouble with LA's criminal underworld, not-so-honest cops, and damsels in distress.
It's a short book - only 130 pages - with tight writing and some of the funniest descriptions you'll ever read. Git's the Raven Jake seal of approval.