Born in Chicago but raised in England, where he studied the classics, Raymond Chandler had early jobs as a reporter for English newspapers. He also worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, and auditor. But his first love was writing, and from 1933 to his death, Chandler was a professional writer. In addition to novels and short stories, Chandler wrote screenplays. He won two academy awards, for Double Indemnity (1944) and The Blue Dahlia (1946). Urban America's darker side fascinated Chandler as a place where the promise of America has gone wrong, corrupted by greed, money, and power. Into this setting Chandler places detective Philip Marlowe, a disillusioned idealist made cynical by what he sees on the streets of Los Angeles. Chandler is said to demonstrate the imaginative possibilities of the detective story as he transforms the genre from formulaic puzzlement to cultural inquiry.
John Bayley is former Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford & the author of books on Tolstoy, Hardy, & Housman. He has also written several novels, & last year published a memoir, Elegy for Iris.