cover image The Little Sister: Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe (Illustrated)

The Little Sister: Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe (Illustrated)

Raymond Chandler, Michael Lark. Fireside Books, $15 (136pp) ISBN 978-0-684-82933-3

Lark's impressive comics adaptation of Chandler's archetypal hardboiled detective novel integrates the best of the latter's classic tough-guy dialogue and feverishly intricate plotting with Lark's stylishly noir illustrations. Bespectacled, spinsterish Midwesterner Orfamay Quest visits the down-at-the heels office of PI Philip Marlowe, ostensibly looking for her missing brother. But Marlowe soon learns that the case is not simple; as the bodies proliferate, it's clear that the little sister knows a lot more than she admits. Lark captures 1940s L.A.'s gloomy, neon-lit luxuriousness; the cigarettes and trench coats, snap-brim fedoras and snappier dialogue (""So I kissed her. It was either that or slug her.""). His chiaroscuro drawings are a bit static, but his elegant panel compositions, generally shrouded in flat black shadows and accented by wan earth tones, serve as wonderfully cinematic snapshots of the novel's action. (May)