This collection by crime fiction master Raymond Chandler features four long stories in which private eye Philip Marlowe is hired to protect a rich old guy from a gold digger, runs afoul of crooked politicos, gets a line on some stolen jewels with a reward attached, and stumbles across a murder victim who may have been an extortionist.
Before hitting it big with the detective novel The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler wrote pulp detective stories for magazines like Black Mask. Four of these stories from the early 1930s are collected in Trouble Is My Business, which was published in 1950. In his introduction to the collection, Chandler explains the difference between older mystery stories, in which the most important piece is the last few pages explaining the resolution, and his own genre, pulp, in which atmosphere, scene-setting, and memorable character interactions take precedence over the actual mechanics of the plot. As he puts it, “the ideal mystery was one you would read if the end was missing.”
The stories in Trouble Is My Business feature Chandler’s most famous character – the Los Angeles hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe, who would become the model for every hard-drinking, jaded private investigator that appears in fiction subsequently. Marlowe is the antithesis to the most famous literary detective who preceded him: the precise, cerebral, and cold Sherlock Holmes. Instead, Marlowe is a decent man who tries to live by a code, and inserts himself into mysteries not because he enjoys a puzzle, but because he wants to help the helpless – particularly women – even if it usually means being physically assaulted in the process.