Sunday, 6 February 2011

Raymond Chandler: A Coat, a Hat and a Gun

To tie-in with Radio 4's new versions of the Raymond Chandler classic thrillers Harriett Gilbert presents a reappraisal of the life and legacy of the man from Upper Norwood who invented the PI as we know him.

"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."

Philip Marlowe has become in many people's minds the archetypal American detective anti-hero, yet his creator was educated at English public school, took the Civil Service exam and started a career in the Admiralty.

This re-examination of the greatest crime writer of all time assesses him as an uneasy Englishman abroad and analyses his love-hate relationship with Hollywood, as well as his writing.

Interviewees include the best-selling writer Sarah Dunant who was inspired to write crime after reading Chandler as a teenager; Professor John Sutherland; David Thomson (the leading film critic who also went to school at Dulwich); David Fine, author of a book about mythic LA.

Harriett Gilbert is the presenter of The World Book Club on the World Service is a writer, a huge Chandler fan and her father - a crime writer himself - was Chandler's solicitor.

Producer: Rebecca Stratford.

Listen (for only four more days) on BBC iPlayer:

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