Only to Sleep

Only to Sleep

by Lawrence Osborne

Overview: The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe—now in his seventy-second year—is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it. For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn—supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaving behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils? Set between the border and badlands of Mexico and California, Lawrence Osborne’s resurrection of the iconic Marlowe is an unforgettable addition to the Raymond Chandler canon.

Deanna Boe (10/02/19):I put this on “hold” for me at the library and I am not sure why. Did someone recommend it? Did I hear something about it on TV? Who knows, but years ago I can remember reading Philip Marlowe mysteries written by Raymond Chandler and enjoyed them. This author is trying to imitate the character Philip Marlowe but with limited success.

Philip Marlowe is now 72 years old, an age I can relate to with appreciation. Marlowe is living in Mexico or Baja California. He is getting bored with simply sitting back relaxing, drinking and enjoying the beautiful sunsets. When he is approached by an insurance company to check out their having to pay out two million on a possible death and whether it is above-board and actually happened, Marlowe thought – “Why not?”

The first third of the book did keep my interest. The style was good and did remind you of the Marlowe series of old. Then the pace started to drag and seemed repetitive with Marlowe going from one Mexican small town to another, staying in old hotels and following the young and beautiful widow of the man who supposedly had died. The writer kept “harping” about Marlowe being “old” and “worn-out.” I am guessing this author isn’t in his 70’s because his portrayal of Marlowe as this “old man” didn’t totally ring true with me. I know many in their early 70’s who live as active of lives as they did when they were younger, maybe even better. If you want a trip down memory lane my thought would be to simply read one of the original novels about Marlowe.
Rating: ***

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