Perchance to Dream: Sequel to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

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3 thoughts on “Perchance to Dream: Sequel to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

  1. 9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    half-hearted romp through the mean streets, June 22, 2001
    By 
    thecastlebookroom “thecastlebookroom” (Bakersfield, CA United States) –

    a little background is in order (as I understand it): the heirs of Chandler approached Parker to finish the Poodle Springs manuscript, and part of the deal was that he had to write one more Marlowe story. ‘Dream’ is that one more. The job was almost impossible to begin with (Chandler’s drinking had taken the edge off his talent by that time, and the Poodle manuscript got off on the wrong foot to boot), the Chandler fans ripped it for not being up to Chandler’s prime (which even Chandler himself wasn’t, towards the end), the Parker fans ripped it for not being true Spencer, and Parker felt the strain of wearing another man’s shoes. So by the time he got to this one, my guess is, his heart wasn’t in it. He’s said he’ll never do another Marlowe book. That said, it’s still good to have Marlowe back, cracking wise and cruising the mean streets again. I liked it better than Chandler’s “The Pencil”, and better than some of the Spencer books! I just wish Parker would reconsider, and do another Marlowe book without the pressures and constraints of a contract. Marlowe, like Sherlock, is a detective who deserves to live on after his progenitor, but the return of L.A.’s hard-boiled prose-poet is, perchance, just a dream.

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  2. 6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Sequel to “Big Sleep” 50 years later: fun and true to form Philip Marlowe !!, October 9, 2005
    By 
    Gerald M. Bull “Jerry Bull” (Fairview, TN United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    We really admire Parker for having the knowledge and creativity to “dream” up a new Philip Marlowe some fifty years after the original “Big Sleep” {1939} was published. We may be influenced by having just recently read Chandler’s original first novel (so it was fresh in our mind), but we thought Parker did a great job. First, his use of literal quotation from the original made an effective prologue as well as effective transitions for the plot line that continued in his sequel. Second, his replication of Marlowe, with which he had prior experience in finishing Chandler’s last work, Poodle Springs {to which Chandler only contributed the first four chapters}, was so credible we barely missed the masterful prose of the series creator.

    In the story, the younger of (now deceased) General Sternwood’s daughters, Carmen, is missing from a sanitarium to which she was committed as part of the outcome of “Sleep”. Her sister Vivian, with whom Marlowe eventually became infatuated enough to bed, wants her found, but turned to another of her friends from the first book, Eddie Mars, to find. Meanwhile Norris the butler hires Marlowe to do the same, and ironically he and Eddie form an unlikely alliance at times to pursue matters. Before it’s over, a scheme to make a millionaire out of the sanitarium founder, in cohorts with a wealthy land baron recluse, is uncovered; as is the perpetrator of a couple more killings along the way. Naturally the urbane but dogged Marlowe finds time in between drinking, smoking, and wowing attractive women, to unravel all and ride off into the sunset as a hero.

    Some might quibble that Parker is a mediocre substitute for Mr. Chandler, but who might be up to the task of stringing wordcraft in that author’s stead? We found Parker’s plot quite entertaining in its own merits and his ability to credibly bring Marlowe back to life after fifty years quite remarkable. We enjoyed the book immensely, and found it no unworthy companion to his main man Spenser. Indeed, we commend this book to Chandler and Marlowe devotees!

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  3. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Decent Sequel to The Big Sleep, March 9, 2008
    By 
    C. Baker “cbaker” (Washington, DC) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Perchance to Dream (Paperback)

    Perchance to Dream is Robert B. Parker’s sequel to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Here, once again, Marlowe runs into the crazy sisters Vivian and Carmen Sternwood. In the Big Sleep, as you know, Carmen is totally insane and killed a man and was put away in a sanitarium. Here, she disappears and the Sternwood butler, who has been left a lot of money by the girls’ father, hires Marlow to find her. Problem is it seems nobody wants him to look for her, much less find her. Of course Marlow runs into all kinds of shady dealings and nefarious characters in his search and it turns out to be rather standard mystery novel.

    Overall, this novel is a bit too much like the Big Sleep. Although the plot is quite different, I almost felt like I was reading the same novel over again. And I never really did find the Sternwood sisters to be all that believable as characters. Nevertheless, it was very entertaining and well done novel so I would recommend it to Parker and Chandler fans.

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