36 Great Raymond Chandler Quotes

36 Great Raymond Chandler Quotes

by / Comments Off / 82 View / Jan 12, 2015

Raymond Chandler was a screenwriter and author from Chicago, Illinois. During the Great Depression he lost his executive job at an oil company and turned to writing detective fiction. Some of his most famous novels include The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely. He died on March 26, 1959 at the age of 70.

“A check girl in peach-bloom Chinese pajamas came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins.”

“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.”

“Any man who can write a page of living prose adds something to our life, and the man who can, as I can, is surely the last to resent someone who can do it even better. An artist cannot deny
art, nor would he want to. A lover cannot deny love.”

“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.”

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

“Hollywood is wonderful. Anyone who doesn’t like it is either crazy or sober.”

“I do a great deal of research – particularly in the apartments of tall blondes.”

“I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along that worked.”

“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. I put them on and went out of the room.”

“I never saw any of them again — except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them.”

“I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle, so he won’t let himself get snotty about it.”

“It was a step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough. I ought to have locked the door and hid under the desk.”

“Nor is it any part of my thesis to maintain that it [the detective story] is a vital and significant form of art. There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and
precious little of that.”

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”

“She opened her 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 dilemma of the critic has always been that if he knows enough to speak with authority, he knows too much to speak with detachment.”

“The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever
intended to be.”

“The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like ear and smiled a small fluffy smile. She looked playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself, like a new kitten in a house where they
don’t care much about kittens.”

“The modern film tries too hard to be real. Its techniques of illusion are so perfect that it requires no contribution from the audience but a mouthful of popcorn.”

“The moment a man begins to talk about technique that’s proof that he is fresh out of ideas.”

“The moment a man sets his thoughts down on paper, however secretly, he is in a sense writing for publication.”

“The more you reason the less you create.”

“The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time. It pays off slowly, your agent will sneer at it, your publisher will
misunderstand it, and it will take people you have never heard of to convince them by slow degrees that the writer who puts his individual mark on the way he writes will always pay off.”

“The old man nodded, as if his neck was afraid of the weight of his head.”

“The perfect detective story cannot be written. The type of mind which can evolve the perfect problem is not the type of mind that can produce the artistic job of writing.”

“The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men.”

“The solution, once revealed, must seem to have been inevitable. At least half of all the mystery novels published violate this law.”

“The streets were dark with something more than night.”

“The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.”

“There are no ‘classics’ of crime and detection. Not one. Within its frame of reference, which is the only way it should be judged, a classic is a piece of writing which exhausts the
possibilities of its form and can never be surpassed. No story or novel of mystery has done that yet. Few have come close. Which is one of the principal reasons why otherwise reasonable
people continue to assault the citadel.”

“There are two kinds of truth; the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Without art science would be as useless
as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery.”

“They don’t want you until you have made a name, and by the time you have made a name, you have developed some kind of talent they can’t use. All they will do is spoil it, if you let them.”

“When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.”

“When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.”

“Woe, woe, woe… in a little while we shall all be dead. Therefore let us behave as though we were dead already.”

“You can always tell a detective on TV. He never takes his hat off.”