Last year I read for the second time Chandler's The Big Sleep, The High Window, The Lady In The Lake, and Farewell, My Lovely. It had been about ten years since I'd read them for the first time and they were all even better than I remembered. I just finished reading The Long Goodbye for the second time and it's gotta be Chandler's best, just a masterpiece. As a reader you get a real physical and emotional sense of the weariness that these characters feel. It's a pretty dark and melancholy book for the most part. Marlowe and many of the characters are really at odds with, well, everything, from each other to themselves to society in general. There's generally a distinction between hardboiled fiction and noir fiction, with Chandler in the first category given that his Phillip Marlowe is a detective, but going by the Wikipedia entries on both I think I'd label The Long Goodbye as noir literature. Marlowe never really feels like a detective in the book, but more like a regular guy just trying to doing something he thinks is right to prove to himself something right can still be done in the world.