The Long Goodbye (First Edition) by Raymond Chandler



2015-06-26 10:52:25

The Long Goodbye is a novel by Raymond Chandler (1888-1959). The first edition of this work was published in 1953 by Hamish Hamilton, London, and in American in 1954 by Houghton and Mifflin, Boston. Background

Chandler, struggling financially during the Great Depression of the 1930s, taught himself to write pulp fiction for a living. He published a short story, followed by his first novel, The Big Sleep. His protagonist, the private detective Philip Marlowe, was so popular that Chandler released the sequel Farewell, My Lovely just a year later. He went on to write seven further Philip Marlowe novels, of which The Long Goodbye was one of the most popular, and his own personal favourite. He wrote it during the sad time of his wife’s terminal illness.

Plot, Characters, Themes

Marlowe is arrested for helping a suspected murderer escape. He is released, and asked to investigate an unrelated case. The two turn out to be connected, and Marlowe is left investigating a mess of numerous murders and suicides.

In this novel, Chandler utilises the hardboiled detective fiction genre as a social critique. He also incorporates autobiographical elements.


Raymond Chandler is considered one of the foremost detective fiction writers.

See main article: Raymond Chandler rare books and memorabilia

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

It is not recommended to restore first editions of The Long Goodbye (1953, Hamish Hamilton, London), as they are worth a lot more in their original bindings and dust-jackets. If Chandler has signed them this adds a lot of value. It is significant to note that the true first edition was that published in Britain. However, the first American edition is usually the one that appears at auction, and is more desirable at least to American collectors.

American first edition copies (1954, Houghton and Mifflin, Boston) were sold by Christie’s, inscribed by Chandler, for $10,350 in December 1996, and by Sotheby’s, inscribed by Chandler, for $15,600 in November 2004.

English first editions fetched only $720 in June 2005 and £900 in March 2005 at Sothebys, and $1,315 in September 2002 at Christie’s.


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