Wrong Pidgeon by Raymond Chandler


Chandler’s final Marlowe short story.


Wrong Pidgeon — A short story by Raymond Chandler.

Wrong Pidgeon it later provided the basis of an episode for an HBO mini-series (1983–86) entitled Philip Marlowe, Private Detective.

Philip Marlowe a fictional character created by Raymond Chandler in a series of novels including The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye. Marlowe first appeared, under that name, in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. Chandler’s short stories featured essentially identical characters with names “Carmady” and “John Dalmas.” Some of those short stories were later combined and expanded into novels featuring Marlowe, a process Chandler called “cannibalizing.” When the non-cannibalized stories were republished years later in the short story collection The Simple Art of Murder, Chandler changed the names of the protagonists to Philip Marlowe.

The little man was from the Calabar coast or from Papua or Tongatabu, some such remote place like that. An empire-builder frayed at the temples, thin and yellow, and slightly drunk at the club bar. And he was wearing a faded school tie he had probably kept year after year in a tin box so the centipedes wouldn’t eat it.
Mr. Sutton-Cornish didn’t know him, at least not then, but he knew the tie because it was his own school tie. He spoke to the man timidly. They had drinks and talked of the old school, in that peculiar, remote way the English have. Without even exchanging names, but quite friendly underneath.