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Raymond Chandler: The BBC Radio Drama Collection

Narrated by: Toby Stephens
Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (224 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The complete collection of landmark BBC Radio dramas of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe mysteries.

Philip Marlowe is the archetypal noir detective: wisecracking and world weary, hard boiled yet honourable. This volume includes all eight dramatisations of Raymond Chandler's groundbreaking crime novels featuring his iconic hero.

The Big Sleep: Marlowe is consulted by a wealthy family man with two big problems: his children.

Farewell My Lovely: Marlowe's search for an ex-con's ex-girlfriend leads him into danger.

The High Window: when a rare gold coin is stolen from her collection, Mrs Murdoch hires Philip Marlowe to find it.

The Lady in the Lake: businessman Derace Kingsley hires Marlowe to find his estranged wife, Crystal.

The Little Sister: commissioned to find Orfamay Quest's missing brother, Marlowe is drawn into the glamorous film world of Hollywood.

The Long Goodbye: Marlowe befriends a drunk named Terry Lennox but comes to regret doing him a favour.

Playback: hired to follow the mysterious Betty Mayfield, Marlowe soon finds that he is being tailed, too.

Poodle Springs: newly married Marlowe puts his bride aside to look for a gambler on the run.

Starring Toby Stephens as Philip Marlowe, these stylish, suspenseful dramatisations - full of witty, ironic dialogue and colourful characters - bring the beautiful, corrupt world of California in the '40s and '50s to luminous life.

Duration: 11 hours approx.

©2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd. (P)2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Toby Stephens goes California Noir

This was a fun, easy listen except for the appalling acting from several of the female characters. They were annoying enough to knock off a star. I know most of the Marlowe femmes are hardly deeply nuanced, but some of these actresses need a remedial class or two. (Yes, to my ear, they are that bad).

Stephens carried the day, though, and I found his "California Noir" voice wonderfully surprising. He's always a first-rate performer, though, so I'd expect nothing less than brilliance from him, even portraying an American.

The story adaptations were well-written, faithful to the spirit of the originals.

Well worth a listen.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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classic noir detective story

Philip Marlow is the quintessential noir detective. He is the inspiration for the hard-boiled smartass rough necks that follows.
the mysteries found here are foggy and clouded and have the feel of a real mysteries being uncovered by the reader right along side Marlow.

fair warning, this was written in a very different time. it speaks ill off certain races and women at times. nothing completely and disgustingly offensive out right, but there is some of that in the text.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Very well done!

Would you listen to Raymond Chandler: The BBC Radio Drama Collection again? Why?

These are really great adaptations of Raymond Chandler's novels. Very well done! These are awesome. Very atmospheric with great acting and sound effects. HIGHLY recommended, especially if you are a fan of noir.

What other book might you compare Raymond Chandler: The BBC Radio Drama Collection to and why?

None. These are stand alone. These are, by far, the best adaptations I have ever heard of Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe novels.

Which character – as performed by Toby Stephens – was your favorite?

Phillip Marlowe, of course

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Whole thing was great!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Happy

Glad to have all the novels dramatized together since the little sister wasn't available by itself. They're a little short but still fun.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Classic Chandler - all the stories

This is a decent dramatization of a Raymond Chandlers works, including the post-mortem Poodle Springs written by Robert B Parker, creator of the Spencer detective series. It's good but I don't think Auntie Beeb excels when it comes to American accents. Still, it grows on you and by the end of the series I felt it was a good dramatization.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Really well done!

I enjoy listening to this over and over again at bedtime. Very nostalgic and well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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You need to appreciate the wit...

I listened to these stories because I enjoyed the wonderful one liners bouncing off the walls. The stories were hollow but the writing very clever in the mouth of the hero detective. And I like Toby Stephen's portrayal of Marlowe most surprisingly of all. It is unbelievable how he was able to change his voice and accent to become a sexy American detective. When I hear him as an Englishman in other plays, he is no longer sexy to this American ear. It's like Royals can't sound like virile Cowboys. But Toby was tough in a very quiet way and although he could have shown a little more edginess, I liked him anyway. The males were generally good, the females mostly awful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A classic radio drama

Great storyline and excellent cast, wish there were more chapters. For those who like the old time radio shows, a must listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful interpretation of classic noir

Where does Raymond Chandler: The BBC Radio Drama Collection rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This has become one of my favorites.

What other book might you compare Raymond Chandler: The BBC Radio Drama Collection to and why?

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes because it revisits classic old time radio.

Which scene was your favorite?

I really can't choose just one. I loved the dramatizations of Raymond Chandler's works.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I enjoyed all of the stories.

Any additional comments?

A wonderful interpretation of old time radio noir classics. Not to be missed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Greatest

There have been so many great writers in the noir detective genre. Each few years, a new star is discovered. Although I read and enjoyed most all of the late Robert B. Parker's stories, and ditto with Lee Child; no one touches Raymond Chandler. These stories are certainly dated, from the use of the "sap," to phrases such as "soldier," to the continual cigarette smoking, and all-hours-of-the-day imbibing. Even the ringing telephone and the sound of the automobile are antiquated. But if one can get beyond that (or even enjoy the sounds of a time long past), the power, the integrity, the sensuality, and the sexuality stand alone in allure. The plots are intricate. The choice of words is crisp. The power pulses. If it is possible for dated material to instead be timeless, Raymond Chandler's writings have accomplished that paradox and improbability.

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  • S. Kennedy
  • 05-01-17

So would chapter headings have killed them?

Any additional comments?

Good performances and some of the greatest crime narratives of the 20th century. But the chapter headings give no hint to which story the chapters cover, and the beginnings of each story don't have any identifying introductions. You have to know the stories themselves to figure out just what you are listening to. Want to dive straight into "The Long Goodbye"? Then it's forward and back on the chapter headings until find the start of it - or not. Lazy editing on someone's part.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms J Stevenson
  • 01-26-17

Very good versions of Chandler classics

Overall, this was an interesting listen with fine performances and suitably atmospheric music.
It was annoying that the stories were not introduced at the beginning so that, unless you looked at the details section, it wasn't clear until the end what you'd be hearing. Admittedly, it was possible to guess which was which with the better known ones but,as the stories tend to cover similar ground, this is not always the case.
This smallish error spoilt the production for me, hence 4 stars all round.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick Carter
  • 10-06-16

Toby Stephens is brilliant

Superb acting by Toby Stephens and supporting cast, although they could have used a few more voices.
However, all the stories are great and the music gives it that LA Noir feel to it.
Really enjoyed it.
I hope Audible acquires the dramatisations of James Bond soon; also starring Toby Stephens.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Kelly
  • 11-15-19

Good atmospheric renditions of chandler ‘s stories

I am a big fan of Chandler so I really enjoyed this set of full cast dramatisations Toby Stephen was brilliant as Marlowe!

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  • Larry Reacher
  • 11-12-19

Super collection, very well Narrated.

Super collection, very well Narrated.
You get a PDF file that's very nice. The slight annoyance for me is, there are no chapter headings. So One story
blends into the next, and assume that's no issue if you know the books, (which I don't). That said
really good listen.

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  • Stephen H
  • 10-15-19

One of my favourite dramatisations

loved it all. Great stories and acting. And great value too. shame i finished it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • happy go pro
  • 09-15-19

Great wisecracking Marlow

Only complaint is the stories are a bit abridged but artistic license allows for that

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-19

Fantastic production

I enjoyed reading the Philip Marlow stories as a teenager and 40 years later they are just as gripping. My only comment is it would have been helpful to have the title at the start of each story rather than the end.

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  • JO
  • 07-19-19

JoGo

I have read and enjoyed all Raymond Chandlers
books and equally enjoyed this audio collection




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  • Mr. Paul M. Quirk
  • 12-22-18

Excellent production

I really enjoyed these stories of the various cases for Philip Marlowe. The voice acting was perfect, the stories enjoyable.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-19

Disappointing

Lots of swearing and blasphemy the original books blanked out. The acting and atmosphere was quality work, but it was unlistenable for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-22-18

don't go past it

even better the second time around.
Toby is great. this audible originals are great .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-18

Classy

Classy dramatisations with great atmosphere and acting, particularly from Toby Stephens - whose accent is flawless!

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  • Eamon Hale
  • 08-03-17

Brilliant.

Raymond Chandlers stories are wonderful and timeless. And these audiobooks are exceptionally well done. A real joy to listen to.