Carmady

Created by Raymond Chandler

CARMADY made his debut in “Finger Man” (October 1934, Black Mask), Chandler’s third published story for the legendary pulp mag. Carmady was Philip Marlowe virtually fully-developed:, an L.A.-based P.I. who told his own stories in the first person. The other Carmady stories are “Killer in the Rain”, “The Man Who Liked Dogs, “Goldfish, “The Curtain” and “Try the Girl.”

Two of the Carmady stories, “Finger Man” and “Goldfish” were reprinted in The Simple Art of Murder (1950) with the name Philip Marlowe inserted. (This made commercial sense, since Marlowe was the character Chandler was best known for by then, and, in this way Houghton Miflin could promote the book as a collection of Marlowe stories which, judging from the dust jacket description of the book in its earlier editions, is exactly what they did).

Sharp-eyed purists will note that the character in “Finger Man” and “Killer in the Rain” was not actually called Carmady, but was an anonymous first-person narrator, like the Continental Op. However, since the character in “Goldfish,” who IS called Carmady, recalls events from “Finger Man,” it’s reasonable to conclude that the anonymous character in those first two stories is also Carmady.

Carmady is often erroneously identified as Ted Carmady. Carmady is actually yet another pulp character of Chandler’s, originally named Ted Malvern in “Guns at Cyrano’s” — whose name was changed when the old pulp stories were collected in the The Simple Art of Murder. This latter name change has misled people into thinking that the single-named Carmady in the Black Mask stories was named Ted Carmady. In addition to being a sentimental nod to Marlowe’s pulp incarnations, I suspect Chandler decided to change Malvern’s (and Mallory’s) names because they were too similar to “Marlowe” (Chandler seemed to have a thing for those M-A-L names).

And when Dime Detective wooed Chandler away from Black Mask, he changed Carmady’s name to John Dalmas.

Confused, yet?

In 1939, Chandler published The Big Sleep, expanded (or “cannibalized,” as he put it) from the Carmady stories “Killer in the Rain” and “The Curtain” (with a brief gambling sequence lifted from “Finger Man”), with Carmady becoming Marlowe. Some of the supporting characters who would appear in the Marlowe novels, most notably DA’s Investigator Bernie Ohls and Sheriff’s Lt. “Violets” M’Gee, first appeared in the Carmady stories.

SHORT STORIES

  • “Finger Man” (October 1934, Black Mask)
  • “Killer in the Rain” (January 1935, Black Mask)
  • “The Man Who Liked Dogs” (March 1936, Black Mask)
  • “Goldfish” (June 1936, Black Mask)
  • “The Curtain” (September 1936, Black Mask)
  • “Try The Girl” (January 1937, Black Mask)
Respectfully submitted by Jim Doherty.

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