CHANDLER, Raymond. The Little Sister. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1949.
8vo., original red cloth, lettered in gilt to spine; in the rather striking original unclipped dust wrapper (8s. 6d. Net); pp. 256; cloth a little sunned to edges and bumped to corners; prelims foxed, particularly to the last few pages, end paper, and paste-down, a common trait; jacket with reciprocal scattered foxing to inner rear flap; nicked to edges, particularly head and foot of spine, with one small chip to foot, a minuscule hole internally repaired along spine; rear panel a touch soiled; the front image still vibrant, even to spine.
Publisher's review copy, published in advance of the first edition, which was released in the UK in June 1949. This copy from the Library of writer Anthony Lejeune, with publisher's note on headed paper pasted to front free endpaper: "One copy of The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler, with compliments. Publication - June 24, 1949. To:-Miss C. A. Lejeune."
The Little Sister was Chandler's fifth novel, and features protagonist Philip Marlowe in his role at the centre of a series of "curious, and increasingly violent happenings". The plot was based upon Chandler's experiences while working in the film industry in Hollywood, and his low opinions of those he met in the business.
Lejeune was a writer, broadcaster and editor, best known for his weekly radio talk London Letter, which was broadcast in South Africa for almost 30 years, as well as his own works on the Clubs of London and a series of detective novels. Through his connections, particularly with Ian Fleming, he worked for a period of time as crime correspondent for The Sunday Times, and also wrote a number of political works attacking the Socialist cause. This copy is addressed to his mother, Caroline Alice Lejeune, who was a film critic for The Observer.
As J.B. Priestley puts it: "He accepts the pattern of the contemporary thriller…the world of corpses, whiskey for breakfast and luscious nymphomaniacs, but illuminates it with a genuine if sour wit and much oblique social criticism. To read him is like cutting into an over-ripe melon and discovering that it has a rare astringent flavour".
A fascinating association copy.