Quotes from the Master:
"On the dance floor half a dozen couples were throwing themselves around with the reckless abandon of a night watchman with arthritis "---Playback (Chapter 8)
"Dead men are heavier than broken hearts "---The Big Sleep (Chapter 8)
"She's dark and lovely and passionate. And very, very kind."
"And exclusive as a mailbox," I said.
---The Little Sister (Chapter 19)
"It was a cool day and very clear. You could see a long way--but not as far as Velma had gone"---Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 41)
"I put the duster away folded with the dust in it, leaned back and just sat, not smoking, not even thinking. I was a blank man. I had no face, no meaning, no personality, hardly a name. I didn't want to eat. I didn't even want a drink. I was the page from yesterday's calendar crumpled at the bottom of the waste basket "---The Little Sister (Chapter 25)
"Eddie Mars wanted to see me."
"I didn't know you knew him. Why?"
"I don't mind telling you. He thought I was looking for somebody he thought had run away with his wife."
"Then what did you come for?"
"To find out why he thought I was looking for somebody he thought had run away with his wife."
"Did you find out?"
---The Big Sleep (Chapter 23)
"Tall, aren't you?" she said.
"I didn't mean to be."
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.
---The Big Sleep (Chapter 1)
"I never saw any of them again - except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them." ---The Long Goodbye (Chapter 52)
"Then he picked the glass up and tasted it and sighed again and shook his head sideways with a half smile; the way a man does when you give him a drink and he needs it very badly and it is just right and the first swallow is like a peek into a cleaner, sunnier, brighter world." " ---The High Window (Chapter 15)
"The minutes went by on toptoe, with their fingers to their lips." ---The Lady in the Lake (Chapter 1)
"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight." ---The Little Sister (Chapter 12)
"I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard." --"The King in Yellow"
"The big foreign car drove itself, but I held the wheel for the sake of appearances." --Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 9)
Then her hands dropped and jerked at something and the robe she was wearing came open and underneath it she was as naked as September Morn but a darn sight less coy."--The Long Good-bye (Chapter 29)
"Across the street somebody had delirium tremens in the front yard and a mixed quartet tore what was left of the night into small strips and did what they could to make the strips miserable. While this was going on the exotic brunette didn't move more that one eyelash."--"Red Wind" (Section 5)
"To say she had a face that would have stopped a clock would have been to insult her.It would have stopped a runaway horse."--The Little Sister
"I felt like an amputated leg." -- "Trouble Is My Business" (Section 4)
"The corridor which led to it had a smell of old carpet and furniture oil and the drab anonymity of a thousand shabby lives"--The Little Sister (Chapter 9)
"She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket"--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 18)
"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."--"The Simple Art of Murder" (essay)
"I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun." Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 34)
"I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it." -- The Big Sleep (Chapter 1)
"San Diego? One of the most beautiful harbors in the world and nothing in it but navy and a few fishing boats. At night it is fairyland. The swell is as gentle as an old lady singing hymns. But Marlowe has to get home and count the spoons." -- The Long Goodbye (Chapter 6)
""She's a charming middle age lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she's washed her hair since Coolidge's second term, I'll eat my spare tire, rim and all." " -- Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 6)
"A white night for me is as rare as a fat postman." -- The Long Goodbye (Chapter 12)
"The General spoke again, slowly, using his strength as carefully as an out-of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings." -- The Big Sleep (Chapter 2)
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."-- "Red Wind" (opening paragraph)
""His smile was as stiff as a frozen fish." -- "The Man Who Liked Dogs"
"I belonged in Idle Valley like a pearl onion on a banana split."--The Long Good-bye (Chapter 13)
"Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 1)
"What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty slum or in a marble tower on top of a high hill. You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell. Me, I was part of the nastiness now."--The Big Sleep (Chapter 32)
"Her smile was as faint as a fat lady at a fireman's ball."--High Window (Chapter 3)
"At three A.M. I was walking the floor listening to Khachaturyan working in a tractor factory. He called it a violin concerto. I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it."--The Long Good-bye (Chapter 12)
"She opened a mouth like a firebucket and laughed. That terminated my interest in her. I couldn't hear the laugh but the hole in her face when she unzippered her teeth was all I needed."--The Long Good-bye (Chapter 13)
"I walked back through the arch and started up the steps. It was a nice walk if you liked grunting. There were two hundred and eighty steps up to Cabrillo Street. They were drifted over with windblown sand and the handrail was as cold and wet as a toad's belly."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 8)
"The walls here are as thin as a hoofer's wallet."--Playback (Chapter 5)
"The voice got as cool as a cafeteria dinner."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 15)
"The kid's face had as much expression as a cut of round steak and was about the same color."--"Red Wind"
"If you don't leave, I'll get somebody who will." -- Chandler's notebooks
"One time in Leavenworth, just one time in all those years, Wally Sype wrapped himself around a can of white shellac and got as tight as a fat lady's girdle."--"Goldfish"
"Tasteless as a roadhouse blonde."--"Spanish Blood"
"From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away."--The High Window (Chapter 5)
"You boys are as cute as a couple of lost golf balls . . . how in the world do you do it?"--The High Window (Chapter 23)
"She was as cute as a washtub." -- Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 5)
"The house itself was not so much. It was smaller than Buckingham Palace, rather gray for California, and probably had fewer windows than the Chrysler Building. I sneaked over to the side entrance and pressed a bell and somewhere a set of chimes made a deep mellow sound like church bells. A man in a striped vest and gilt buttons opened the door, bowed, took my hat and was through for the day."-- Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 18)
"I sat beside her on the yellow leather chesterfield. 'Aren't you a pretty fast worker?' she asked quietly. I didn't answer her.
'Do you do much of this sort of thing?' she asked with a sidelong look.
'Practically none. I'm a Tibetan monk, in my spare time.'
'Only you don't have any spare time.'""--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 18)
"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 13)
"I called him from a phone booth. The voice that answered was fat. It wheezed softly, like the voice of a man who had just won a pie-eating contest."--"Trouble Is My Business" (Section 2)