Banville revives detective Marlowe

One of fiction's most famous private detectives is being brought back in a new novel by Booker Prize winner John Banville.

The Irish novelist, who writes crime fiction under the name Benjamin Black, will write a novel featuring Raymond Chandler's creation Philip Marlowe.

The novel, which will be set in the 1940s in the fictional Californian setting of Bay City, will be published next year.

Banville said: "I love the challenge of following in the very large footsteps of Raymond Chandler.

"I began reading Chandler as a teenager, and frequently return to the novels.

"This idea has been germinating for several years and I relish the prospect of setting a book in Marlowe's California, which I always think of in terms of Edward Hopper's paintings. Bay City will have a slightly surreal, or hyper-real, atmosphere that I look forward to creating."

Marlowe, a wise-cracking private eye, is one of crime fictions most enduring characters and was famously played on screen by Humphrey Bogart in the classic noir The Big Sleep.

Wexford-born Banville won the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea.

His editor John Sterling said: "John Banville writing as Benjamin Black recreating Raymond Chandler is a perfect literary hand-off.

"There is no one better to bring Philip Marlowe back to life for the vast readership that loves noir crime fiction."