He [Raymond Chandler] started out writing second-rate poetry and essays, but couldn't get much published, so he gave up and took a bookkeeping class, got a job at a bank, and went on to become a wealthy oil company executive.
He lost his job when the stock market crashed in 1929. So at the age of 45 he began writing for pulp fiction magazines, which paid about a penny a word.
Chandler was one of the first detective novelists to become known for the quality of his prose, and he became famous for his metaphors. In one novel he wrote, “She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looked by moonlight.” In another he wrote, “She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”