Chandler's another one of them writers I've long wanted to read - and just haven't gotten around to. I did read one of his books long ago, way back in graduate school -- don't even remember which one, to be honest, but it left a taste in my mouth, like well-rounded scotch.
This is his first book, and it took me a while to decide it was a damned good book. The prose seemed a bit stiff, the proper nouns -- I mean, the names - artificial, and the pace no faster than a racer's trot after the 3rd.
But somewhere around the later part of chapter 24, it all came together -- the taut prose, the existential element, the plot, even the characters -- and not just Marlowe's -- till, by the last sentence, Chandler had me in the palm of his hand.