It took me a long time to like this book. The writing was much better than Big Sleep, where it took half the book for RC just to find his voice -- his first book -- I mean, to really find it. The writing here was often gorgeous... and pointless... and so very modern. But it wasn't till ch. 25 that I started really to dig the writing, and even then I couldn't see why I was reading it -- till... it all fell together at the end... and made it all smooth and satisfying and worthwhile.
The great thing about Chandler is that as soon as you start to see something or start to anticipate it right, he already knows that you've just seen it -- and doesn't play you for a sap -- he's always one step ahead -- just where he should be.