I have never recovered I guess from my favourite crime novel The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. Can anyone recommend a character-driven crime novel with similar sensibilities and quality of writing?

I well understand if it doesn't exist. At least I can be glad to have had the sublime pleasure.

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There's an American writer who waxes rather poetic at times, James Lee Burke. Give him a try and see if you like his books.

Great thanks Dale, will check him out 

Another you might like is Irish writer Declan Burke. Beautiful writer. All his books are good, but i highly recommend THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD and ALL THE DEAD VOICES.

Thank you! Had a quick look on Amazon to use the preview facility and those Burke titles are not there but will hunt around. 

That's Declan Hughes by the way...

Read all the other Marlowe books by Chandler (except for "Playback").

Thank you Eric. TLG's my favourite. To me the balance of all the elements, the voice, the lines, and the narrative flow driven, it feels organically*, by character and atmosphere, is near perfect, to me it's what some people call genius

 (*though as a writer I know that "it feels organically" is an apparition and it's an awful lot of hard work, easier for some, but still, much more time, much more of one's life, than many people realise) 

I find it interesting--and ironic given his personal proclivities--that Chandler said he "distilled" his novels. He'd write a draft, throw out everything but the good stuff, start over on page one, repeat . . .

I don't believe he ever outlined. That may account in part for that feeling of organic flow, the rest accounted for by artistry and craftmanship, I suppose.

Try The Broken Shore, by Peter Temple, an Australian author. Beautifully terse writing, interesting plot and sharply-defined characters. Also, any of James Crumley's books with Milo [unpronounceable surname] as the lead character. For pure entertainment in the PI genre, you could try any of Robert Crais' Elvis Cole books or Lawrence Block's books featuring Matt Scudder.

And, as has been mentioned, anything by James Lee Burke.

Thank you Keith! Sold on The Broken Shore after the first paragraph. Wonderful. Top of my reading list. Will check out the others. 

Get the BBC version with Ed Bishop as Marlowe - you can at least prolong the joy of what is my favourite novel of any genre excepting perhaps Anna Karenin

Great idea thanks

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