1/11/18 – Covers of the Long Goodbye

Date: 1/11/17

Source: Google Search & other literary sites

Role: Online Research

Contact: Google Search and Cover Art info below

Source of Lead: Penguin Random House Summary of The Long Goodbye

Action: Collected & Researched different book covers of The Long Goodbye


  • What do the covers say about the novel? – Maybe check out different publisher’s summaries and see how they differ.
  • What are the covers of other similar mystery fiction novels? Especially others of Chandler’s that take place in Los Angeles.

Notes: While reading the summary I noticed the cover art that Penguin Random House provided is the same as my kindle, but it isn’t the typical hard-boiled art. While it encompasses mystery fiction with a bougie car, it doesn’t say much else. I wanted to see other covers and what they may reveal about the story.


Notes: By far, this is the most intriguing and haunting cover art of The Long Goodbye. At first, I had a hard time figuring out who was the person behind the eye, so I focused on other elements of the cover. The tiki figurine, dripping with blood on its hands and knees, must be the bronze statue that was used to kill Sylvia. To the left, there is a tall figure holding a briefcase, who I imagine to be Marlowe holding on to Lennox’s white case. Around the edge fo the cover, there is a grey material? A curtain? Ah…it’s hair. It’s gotta be Terry Lennox’s hair! Which would make the man behind eye Terry Lennox. Those wrinkles around the eye would make sense for a man who may be stressed and drained from drinking, and maybe killing his wife. That insignia I’m not quite sure about, but perhaps, it will be revealed once I completely finish the novel.

Photo Source: Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye, Houghton & Mifflin and Hamish Hamilton, 1953

Image 2

Notes:  I find this cover art very interesting and somewhat misleading. Its depicting the scene where Marlowe sees the mysterious Terry Lennox leaving the hotel bar with his wife, Sylvia Lennox. Terry is clearly passed out and not too active in this scene. However, despite her limit appearance in the novel, Sylvia is the leading lady in this cover art. This caption provides a little background on Sylvia’s history/reputation, but so far, that does not have much to do with the novel. I find that this cover art functions as an enticing hook to a much, much bigger story in the novel. I do enjoy the mysterious foreshadowing of one lover too many…but which lover….

Photo Source: The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler Pocket Book 1044, 1955 Cover art by Tom Dunn

Image 3

Notes: Ah this is a beautiful example of minimalism done well. Just the infamous gimlet; it says so much with so little. It’s the drink Marlowe and Lennox share when they meet over the years. The gimlet also symbolizes the long goodbye that Marlowe has with Lennox. It’s not just a simple goodbye ever with Lennox, and in a way, Marlowe makes the goodbye even longer by promising to keep Lennox’s promise to have a drink in honor of Lennox.

I also have a very personal relationship to the gimlet as it was my great-grandmother’s favorite drink, and a part of me likes to dream that Grandma Betsy read this novel and felt a similar connection. Or perhaps that’s my own long goodbye to my great-grandmother.

Photo Source: Penguin Books, Limited (UK); Re-issue edition (October 1, 2010)

Image 4

Notes: This cover art depicts the back house where Sylvia’s body was discovered. I can imagine this is the exact scene that the house maids encountered. It’s a bit ambiguous if she is just passed or actually dead, but as the reader, we know the truth. What I really like about this cover art is that the scene is revealed through the opening of a door. I find this to mean that it’s putting the scene on the display, an open door to the horror, while at the same time revealing something that no one should see. Doors are meant to be shut, to keep things private, and this cover art breaks that and exposes the dark, private life/death of Sylvia Lennox.

Photo Source: Raymond Chandler, Group of Two. The Long Goodbye, Houghton & Mifflin and Hamish Hamilton, 1954

Image 5

Notes: Yes! The gimlet makes another appearance, but it a very different context. In this cover art, a woman is holding the gimlet in a crystal martini glass. In contrast to the previous cover art that had a more masculine feel,  this art work has a more feminine essence. And if we know anything with hard-boiled detectives, a woman with a drink and that kind of extravagant jewelry can be considered a dangerous woman. The only character I can think this to be is Linda Loring, who is at Roger Wade’s welcome-back party. She is described wearing a emerald dress, which is too strong of a color to ignore.

Photo Sourcehttps://whatareyoureadingfor.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/raymond-chandler-the-long-goodbye-1953

OVERALL NOTES: I found it extremely surprisingly that none of the covers depicted or portrayed anything about the Wade’s storyline, which seems to be taking up the majority of the novel. However, as the title suggests, the story is focused on a long goodbye, so it makes sense the cover art would centralize around the man who Marlowe is slowly saying good bye to, Terry Lennox. The gimlets, his dead wife’s body, her reputation, and an artistic take on his face, all of these covers incorporate Lennox.

Featured Photo Source:  http://noiselesschatter.com/2012/04/07/noiseless-chatter-spotlight-the-long-goodbye-1953/


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