"Police business is a hell of aproblem. Its a good deal like politics. Itasks for the highest type of men, andtheres nothing in it to attract the highesttype of men. So we have to work withwhat we get." -Capt. Webber of the Bay City Police Department(Lady in the Lake, pg.155 )
The Rough, Hard World of Phillip MarloweLos Angeles County circa 1940’s to 1950’s.The men are tough, the women even tougher.Gangsters are the enforcers for larger, more sinister individuals pulling thestrings from behind closed doors.
The Life and Trials of Police Officers in Raymond Chandler’s Los AngelesMany police officers are used as enforcers and fixers for the underworld.Honest police officers have trouble attaining rank, left in jobs of little powerand influence.Honest police officers that attempt to remove the corruptive element arekilled.
Animosity as a Staple of Pulp FictionA natural animosity between Law Enforcement and Private Investigators isutilized throughout the Pulp Fiction genre.Often the story’s Private Investigator was once a former member of the policeforce.Many motivations are created to justify the Private Detectives departure fromthe police force.The Private Investigator’s previous history within law enforcement creates aplausible animosity.The story’s author typically utilizes the animosity to contrast their protagonistwith their opposite counterpart.
Phillip Marlowe’s Law Enforcement HistoryRaymond Chandler initially creates animosity between Phillip Marlowe andlaw enforcement by giving Marlowe a history in law enforcement.• Marlowe is a Former investigator for the District Attorney• Marlowe is fired for insubordination“I test very high on insubordination, General” -Phillip Marlowe to General Sternwood (The Big Sleep, pg. 9)
Consequence of AnimosityMarlowe attempts to avoid the police as much as possible.Marlowe attempts to hide evidence and doesnt immediately inform police ofmurders and other crimes.A common reason for Marlowe’s lack of compliance with the law is stated innumerous Raymond Chandler novels.• Marlowe believes that most cops are either incompetent or they are corrupt.Marlowe’s lack of compliance further exacerbates the animosity betweenhimself and official law enforcement personnel.
Raymond Chandler and Convoluted StorylinesOften, Chandler would combine a series of short stories into a single story.This would create inconsistencies and plot holes.• The Big Sleep and The Lady in the Lake are infamous for their convoluted and confusing plots.While combining multiple short stories, Chandler would write himself into acorner.Unable to move the plot forward, Chandler would utilize a plot device knownas, “Enter the Man with a Gun”.
“Enter the Man with a Gun” "Undoubtedly the stories about them [hard-boileddetectives] had a fantastic element. Such things happened,but not so rapidly, nor to so close-knit a group of people,nor within so narrow a frame of logic. This was inevitablebecause the demand was for constant action; if you stoppedto think you were lost. When in doubt, have a man comethrough a door with a gun in his hand." -Raymond Chandler (The Simple Art of Murder)
“Enter the Man with a Gun”The Animosity between law enforcement and private investigators madecrooked cops and incompetent thugs perfect for this role.The antagonist would invariably give Phillip Marlowe an idea as to where tolook next.This would allow Chandler to combine various loose plot threads together tocreate a cohesive story.
In the Final Analysis…Various types of police officers exist in Phillip Marlowe’s universe.Many law enforcement personnel are corrupt.However, a story where all police officers are moral would create a dull story.Many variety of officers need to exist to create friction with the protagonist.Corrupt officers also allow Raymond Chandler to move the plot forward.
Works CitedBaker, Robert A., and Michael T. Nietzel. Private Eyes: One Hundred and One Knights: A Survey of American Detective Fiction, 1922-1984. Bowling Green: Popular Press, 1985. Print.Chandler, Raymond. Everyman’s Library: The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, The High Window. New York: Knopf. 2002. Print.Chandler, Raymond. Everyman’s Library: The Lady in the Lake, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye, Playback. New York: Knopf. 2002. Print.Chandler, Raymond. Trouble is My Business. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Print.Chandler, Raymond. “The Simple Art of Murder.” The University of Texas. University of Texas. Web. n.d. 19 Feb. 2012. http://www.en.utexas.edu/amlit/amlitprivate/scans/chandlerart.htmlChapman, Ellenore. “If You Can Get Them to Think: An Ethical Defence of Crime Fiction.” Crimeculture. Crimeculture.com. Web. n.d. 3 Feb. 2012.Griggers, Cody. “Into the Heart of Marlowe: Masculinity and Romance in Raymond Chandlers The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely.” The Raymond Chandler Website. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2012Marling,William Ph.D. “Major Works: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.” Detnovel. Detnovel.com. Web. 12 Apr. 2009. 23 Jan. 2012Moss, Robert F. “An Introduction to The Big Sleep” The Raymond Chandler Website. n.d. Web 21 Feb. 2012Moss, Robert F. “Raymond Chandler and the Pulps.” The Raymond Chandler Website. n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2012