It’s the birthday of the man who created the Philip Marlowe character and made the pulp detective novel an art form: my British buddy Raymond Chandler.

He was also the one who made fantastic similes part of the detective novel, but only he does it this well:

“He looked as out of place as a tarantula on a slice of angel cake.”

“A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.”

“The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like ear and smiled a small fluffy smile. She looked playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself, like a new kitten in a house where they don’t care much about kittens.”

“The voice that answered was fat. It wheezed softly, like the voice of a man who had just won a pie-eating contest.”

His writing fills me with glee, even if he sprinkles his similes around murders, loose women, corrupt cops, and depressed detectives.