If the inclusion of the erstwhile master of the genre, Raymond Chandler, as a fictonalised character in a pastiche 1930s detective novel is a bit of a gimmick, it is a nice gimmick. In The Kept Girl it keeps us guessing whether the author, Kim Cooper, believes Chandler’s greatest invention, Philip Marlowe, was a self-portrait, or based on someone he knew.
The most likely candidate Cooper offers is Tom James, a Los Angeles detective inspector busted down to traffic cop for trying to expose police corruption. But equal billing might go to the fictional Chandler’s secretary, Muriel Fischer, a woman with more pluck than the average Chandler heroine.
In this story Chandler is forced to investigate the fate of money that has gone missing from his employer, Dabney Oil.