While I should be writing

Raymond Chandlers guide to answering questions from journalists

Picture Post is for people who move their lips when they read. Surely they can get anything they want to know about me from my English publishers, Hamish Hamilton Ltd. The questions you quote from them would seem to me to indicate the intellectual level of the editorial department of Picture Post.

Yes, I am exactly like the characters in my books. I am very tough and have been known to break a Vienna roll with my bare hands. I am very handsome, having a powerful physique, and I change my shirt regularly every Monday morning. When resting between assignments I live in a French Provincial chateau on Mulholland Drive. It is a fairly small place of forty-eight rooms and fifty-nine baths. I dine off gold plates and prefer to be waited on by naked dancing girls. But of course there are times when I have to grow a beard and hole up in a Main Street flophouse, and there are other times when I am, although not by request, entertained in the drunk tank in the city jail.

I have friends from all walk of life. I have fourteen telephones on my desk, including direct lines to New York, London, Paris, Rome, and Santa Rosa. My filing case opens out into a very convenient portable bar, and the bartender, who lives in the bottom drawer, is a midget. I am a heavy smoker and according to my mood I smoke tobacco, marijuana, corn silk and dried leaves. I do a great deal of research, especially in the apartments of tall blondes. I get my material in various ways, but my favourite procedure consists of going through the desks of other writers after hours. I am thirty-eight years old and have been for the last twenty years. I do not regard myself as a bad shot, but I am a pretty dangerous man with a wet towel. But all in all I think my favourite weapon is a twenty dollar bill.

Raymond Chandler, the master of letter writing, to his Hollywood agent, who I’m sure was very greatful for his answers.

If you only read one collection of letters, read Raymond Chandler Speaking