The Black Eyed Blonde : A Philip Marlowe Novel, Hardback

The Black Eyed Blonde : A Philip Marlowe Novel Hardback

3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Maybe it was time I forgot about Nico Peterson, and his sister, and the Cahuilla Club, and Clare Cavendish.

Clare? The rest would be easy to put out of my mind, but not the black-eyed blonde ...It is the early 1950s.

In Los Angeles, Private Detective Philip Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow.

Then a new client arrives: young, beautiful, and expensively dressed, Clare Cavendish wants Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson.

Soon Marlowe will find himself not only under the spell of the Black-Eyed Blonde; but tangling with one of Bay City's richest families - and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune ...In this gripping and deeply evocative crime novel, Benjamin Black returns us to the dark, mesmerising world of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye and his singular detective Philip Marlowe; one of the most iconic and enduringly popular detectives in crime fiction.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781447236689



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

This is a book about homage and betrayal. Black (Banville) captures Chandler's voice so well that it is easy to forget the book is modern. He wisely avoids the more baroque metaphors in favor of a focus on character and nuance that really nails Marlowe's dry empirical world view. The story is entertaining it its own right, the plot enrapturing and the denouement entirely satisfying - with hints at Scott Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure. There are many lines that sing like spiders on angel food cake. Great fun, memorable and enlightening.

Review by

Hmm. Two points about sequels to classic novels, whether sanctioned or not, from my personal and rather hypocritical experiences (I can't stop reading them!) One, authors with distinctive narrative voices (and devoted fanbases) should really be avoided, by everyone. Austen, Chandler, Wodehouse - these authors will never be bettered, and rarely equalled, especially by 'honouring' them with a sequel. Two, if imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, at least try and bring something new to the party! Mimicking style is one thing, but duplicating the plot is quite another.I re-read <i>The Long Goodbye</i> before braving Benjamin Black's sequel, but I think relying on a vague memory would have been wiser. Black - Irish writer John Banville - has a fair crack at Chandler, bar the occasional anachronism/Britishism and flowery metaphor. What bothered me more, ironically, was how <i>close</i> he stuck to the original text. I suspect he read synopses of the first five Marlowe novels, before cribbing the ever-living daylights out of <i>The Long Goodbye</i>. The plot of <i>The Black-Eyed Blonde</i> is virtually identical, down to actually borrowing characters from the source material. I'm just not sure what the point of the whole exercise was - not providing Chandler's readers with a new story, that's for sure. When Marlowe kisses said blonde with dark eyes (I suspect Chandler's title would have had a more violent connotation), the clinch is almost Chandler word for word ('She didn't resist, but she didn't respond either'). The references and in-jokes are easy to spot, but Black is seemingly unable to maintain Marlowe's voice without borrowing phrases from Chandler. As one character remarks to photocopy-Phil, 'You obviously haven't put your heart into it so far'.Successful spin-offs either focus on a new story while honouring the spirit of the original, or style the whole sequel as a fondly penned pastiche. Black is sort of a literary J.J. Abrams, mistaking cut and paste for homage. Don't read the two novels back to back.

Review by

I wanted to like this. Banville really tried hard to build a Chandleresque atmosphere, but it just didn't have the spark of the originals. Dropping in names and plotlines from Chandler's actual work just jarred.

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