Overly elaborate sleuth story entertains but fails to fully persuade
Jam-packed with talent, this deftly crafted Banville-as-Chandler hybrid captures the style and tone of both authors as well as the titular detective himself
From Ian Fleming to Stieg Larsson, the subgenre of new books from dead writers is a curious and questionable one. The novelist John Banville, however, made a fine fist of echoing Raymond Chandler in The Black-Eyed Blonde, which has now been filmed by Neil Jordan as Marlowe.
Banville’s ventriloquist’s story of corruption, subterfuge, illicit sex and Hollywood celebrity in the late 1950s was closely attuned to Chandler’s deliberate syntax and poetic first-person observations. Its plot ...