Penguin Readers, Elementary (500 words) The Lady in the Lake
A book that keeps the reader guessing. The plot is complex but flawlessly handled. The characters are realistic and well-drawn. The pace is fast, but subtly controlled. These factors make this book much more than the average detective fare that's served up by Chandler's imitators.
The dialogues are so well written that you found yourself hearing the characters speak in their correct accent before Chandler specifically declares where they are from. He achieves this without recourse to writing in indecipherable dialect.