April 2010

Overheard—Philip Marlowe


    Public aphorisms of the quintessential private investigator

  • “I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”

    —Farewell, My Lovely, 1940

  • “There was a desert wind blowing that night.
    It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through
    the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.”

    Trouble Is My Business, 1939

  • “The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips.”

    The Lady in the Lake, 1943

  • “I looked back as I opened the door. Slim, dark and lovely and smiling. Reeking with sex. Utterly beyond the moral laws of this or any world I could imagine.”

    The Little Sister, 1949

  • “They say lust makes a man old but keeps a woman young. They say a lot of nonsense.”

    The Long Goodbye, 1953

  • “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

    Farewell, My Lovely, 1940

  • “I don’t mind your ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch
    bottle. I don’t mind your showing me your legs. They’re very swell
    legs and it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during long winter evenings.”

    The Big Sleep, 1939