Philip Marlowe is a private detective operating in and around Los Angeles, in stories by Raymond Chandler.

Marlowe appears in the following Chandler works:

  • The Big Sleep (1939)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (1940)
  • The High Window (1942)
  • The Lady in the Lake (1943)
  • The Little Sister (1949)
  • The Long Goodbye (1953)
  • Playback (1958)
  • Poodle Springs (left unfinished at Chandler's death in 1959; completed by Robert B. Parker, 1989)
  • "The Pencil" (also published under the titles "Marlowe Takes On the Syndicate", "Wrong Pigeon", and "Philip Marlowe's Last Case") (1959)

Chandler also wrote many short stories about private detectives, using various names for the characters, or none at all. He cannibalized many of the stories for the Philip Marlowe novels, and all the non-Marlowe short stories were subsequently reprinted replacing the detective's names with Marlowe's own.

Various authors have published pastiches of Chandler's stories, with the permission of his estate. For example, one collection of short stories, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe - A Centennial Celebration (1988; 1999), contains stories by different crime writers (some of whom treat the non-Marlowe short stories as part of the canon, and some as adventures of other detectives).

In Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Philip José Farmer suggests that Marlowe is descended from Wolf Larsen and Arronaxe Land:

"Marlowe is put forth as a candidate for relationship because of his superior qualitities and because of the resemblence of his eyes to Doc's [i.e. Doc Savage]. [.......] This indicates a possible descent from Larsen [i.e. Wolf Larsen] and Arronaxe Land. In any event, it would be a shame to leave him out of the genealogy. We may suppose that Arronaxe married a Marlowe in her late years and moved to California.

"Readers who feel that the quality of genealogy is strained in this surmise are free to reject it."

Date for Marlowe's birth tend to be given around the turn of the twentieth century, based on various contradictory references in Chandler's novels, which would suggest that Marlowe is the grandson of Wolf Larsen and Arronaxe Land (it may be noted that "The Pencil" deals with the aftermath of a case involving a gangster called Larsen). However, Wold Newton scholars have tended to interpret the above passage as being evidence that Marlowe is the son of Arronaxe Land but not Wolf Larsen.

In The Great Detectives, Marlowe tells Julian Symons that his father was a travelling salesman and his mother was a drunk, and that his sister ran away from home. Wold Newton scholar Dennis Power has identified Marlowe's father as Charlie Marlow, the black sheep of a shabby-genteel English family- turned-sailor who appears in stories by Joseph Conrad (and who claims to have connections to California in Lord Jim). Fellow-scholar Brad Mengel has argued that Marlowe was prompted to locate his sister after meeting Symons, and discovered she was the mother of Robert B. Parker's detective Spenser, thus explaining why Parker was chosen to complete the text of Poodle Springs.

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