Created by Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler‘s very first P.I. character–in his very first story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot,” sold to Black Mask!–lasted only two stories.

MALLORY, whose adventures were told in the third person, was a Chicago operative who came to Hollywood for one case, and stayed. The format (third person) and background (business in Chicago) differentiated Mallory from Chandler’s later series characters (most notably, of course, Philip Marlowe) but he was more or less always the same character, save for a few rougher edges. Chandler supposedly spent five months writing this “novelette” and was paid a whopping $180. After that, Chandler claimed he “never looked back.”

His second story, published in Black Mask in July 1934, was “Smart-Aleck Kill,” also featured Mallory.

Chandler years later dismissed his early efforts, and considered them “weakish,” although he had no problem “cannibalizing” them for The Big Sleep and his other novels.

In The Simple Art of Murder collection (1950), which included “Smart-Aleck Kill,” Chandler changed Mallory’s name to John Dalmas, and by 1986, when Chandler was long gone and HBO and ITV were doing Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, both stories were adapted, and Mallory had become–of course–Philip Marlowe.

Other names Chandler used for his loner P.I. hero include Carmady, Ted Malvern and John Evans. By the way, at last count there were seven other eyes out there by other writers using Chandler’s discarded names for their own character. I wonder if they are all thinking about how clever and oblique they are?


  • “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot” (December 1933, Black Mask)
  • “Smart-Aleck Kill” (July 1934, Black Mask)


    (1986, HBO/ITV)
    6 60-minute episodes
    Based on stories by Raymond Chandler
    Writers: Jeremy Hole, Jesse L. Lasky Jr., Pat Silver
    Directors: Allan King, Robert Iscove, Bryan Forbes
    Filmed in Toronto
    Produced by Jon Slan
    A Paragon Motion Pictures Production
    Starring Powers Boothe as PHILIP MARLOWE

    • “Smart-Aleck Kill” (May 14, 1983)
    • Based on the short story by Raymond Chander
      Written by Jesse L. Lasky, Jr., Pat Silver
      Directed by Peter R. Hunt
      Starring Powers Boothe as PHILIP MARLOWE (Mallory in original)
      Also starring Michael Shannon, Liza Ross
    • “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot” (April 27, 1986)
      Based on the short story by Raymond Chander
      Written by Jeremy Hole, Jesse Lasky Jr., Pat Silver
      Directed by Allen King
      Starring Powers Boothe as PHILIP MARLOWE (Mallory in original)
      Also starring Melody Anderson, Allan Royal


Respectfully submitted by Jim Doherty and Kevin Smith. And yeah, I know–Powers Boothe never played “Mallory.”

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