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Black Eyed Blonde There is no doubting that this is the authentic Philip Marlowe, older, perhaps wiser, but still the same hard edged philosopher and pragmatist choosing to be amongst the venial and mortal sinners of LA life. Nor is there any doubt that this is a new authorial voice, a voice of the 21st century with a command of the sensitivities of contemporary readers and a confident command of the English language and the crime genre. And oh yes – it is obvious he’s Irish
The story works in key characters and plot lines from Chandler’s best work and subtly pays homage to the origins. Let’s hope that Black/Banville pursues this idea as it will attract an entirely new set f readers as well as satisfying the diehard Marlowe fans.

Peter McKay
Pan Macmillan/Hardback/9781447236689/£16.99