A carefully edited, annotated, and where necessary amplified, selection of Raymond Chandler's, letters has also been arranged thematically, along with some notes on a few criminal cases and the opening chapters of a book left at his death in 1959. Chandler, according to many, surpassed Dashiell Hammett in the genre Hammett initiated, also gave the vernacular a range as well as a rasp it has never achieved since. Surprisingly, in private life, he was a , as well as a genuinely gentle man-although at times he claims to be a very ""content fellow"". The opening chapter here fills in a few biographical facts on the Chicago , English educated writer, his marriage to the frail Cissy, her death and- hers and there his drinking. Most of the book focusses on writing and his critical criteria; his own work (for love, not money or prestige) and his own style which was sui generis (""when I spill an infinitive, God damn it, I spilt it so it will stay split""); on Hollywood- where the writer is revealed ""in his ultimate corruption""; on the film and television worlds; on publishing, other writers, critics, agents in a sphere where his own ethics remained incorruptible even though standards were often commercialized; etc., etc. Most of this is shoptalk but it reveals both the man and the medium in which he excelled and it should have an affi appeal. Beyond that, Chandler was decisive enough in his tastes and opinions as they are bluntly articulated here to give this correspondence character and spirit.