This review will be rather quick and dirty, I’m afraid. Like with Farewell, My Lovely, I tore through this book in a single sitting. Given that Chandler is considered (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) to be one of the founders of the modern detective story, a genre known to laypersons like myself for sometimes elaborate but always tightly organized, clockwork-like plots, The High Window has a very organic, almost lop-sided plot. There were times when I had trouble following this book, despite Chandler projecting some pretty clear signals about which things were important and which things weren’t.
In noir films, the women are always some manner of gorgeous, be they smoldering or flouncy or girl next door-ish, but not so in Chandler’s novels, and it was only while reading The High Window that I actually noticed. The women aren’t usually described as unattractive (and they’re usually far more realistic than the women of, say, Ian Fleming’s novels), but they’re what would be called “striking” if the conversation were about Hollywood starlets, the word being code for women who are considered beautiful except for a single feature not usually considered attractive. The High Window doesn’t exactly swarm with such women, but it certainly has its fair share.
I’ll try for something a little more in-depth with my next piece on Chandler (I’m pretty sure I’ve got all his books now, so there will be more coming before the end of the year). Next is Polar, by T.R. Pearson.