Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American novelist and screenwriter.
In 1932 after losing his job as an oil company executive, Chandler at age forty-five and during the Depression decided to become a writer. In 1933 his first story was published in a pulp magazine called Black Mask. His first novel, The Big Sleep was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published only seven novels during his life. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959 in La Jolla California.
Chandler had an immense stylistic influence upon the modern private detective story, especially in the style of the writing and the attitudes now characteristic of the genre. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, is considered synonymous with "private detective", both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart.
Some of Chandler's novels are considered to be important literary works. Of the seven complete novels written by Chandler, three are considered by some to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as "arguably the first book since Hammett's The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery".