Raymond Thornton Chandler, 1888 - 1959

portrait of Raymond Chandler


Born: 23 July 1888, Chicago, Illinois
Died: 26 March 1959, San Diego, California

After his alcoholic father abandoned the family they moved to England, Chandler was educated in the local school at Upper Norwood and attended Dulwich College, London, which was a public school, not university level, but spent time studying languages in France and Germany. He took British citizenship so he could get a job at the Admiralty but disliked the style and left to become a freelance reporter. He wrote for two papers but was not very successful. He returned to the US, living at Los Angeles and doing odd jobs for a time before becoming a bookkeeper. When World War I started, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, saw combat in the trenches in France, and transferred to the RAF and was in flight training when the war ended. Returning to Los Angeles he kept books, becoming vice president of an oil company by 1932, but was fired for drinking and absenteeism a year later. He turned to writing pulp fiction, debuting in Black Mask with "Blackmailers Don't Shoot" in 1933 and publishing The Big Sleep in 1939. In addition to seven detective novels and at least twenty short storied he wrote several screenplays. After his wife of twenty years died in 1954 following a long illness he became more subject to depression and bouts of drinking, limiting the quality and quantity of his writing. He regained his US citizenship in 1956 and died of pneumonial peripheral vascular shock and prerenal uremia. He left no will, his secretary and agent fought over the estate in court, the agent won.

Biography from Wikipedia and Book Reporter

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